LAUSANNE (2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - For the first-time ever a Swiss team will play at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Lausanne Masters. We sat down with their star, the US born Derrick Lang, who is looking forward to helping his team capture the attention of the crowds, and securing the win on 28-29 August. Lang discussed his enthusiasm for his first FIBA 3x3 World Tour, the expectations of representing the host city and what it takes to win a World Tour title.
FIBA.com/3x3WorldTour: This is your first 3x3 World Tour you're representing the city of Lausanne and Switzerland, excited? Nervous? What are your expectations leading into the tournament?
Derrick Lang: Well first of all I’m very excited with anything that deals with basketball, I’m very excited – it’s the competitor in me. I love to compete so I mean it’s a great opportunity cause this is on a different kind of stage where basketball is not that big so we’re just doing it in the different 3x3 format now so I’m glad that they allowed this to happen and I look forward for the challenge to make a little noise with it.
FIBA.com/3x3WorldTour: You’ve been playing a traditional 5x5 for years not and for here in Switzerland since 2011 but this is your first 3x3. How special is it for you to take part of the 3x3 World Tour especially here at home for you. Do you feel any pressure representing the home city and what do you think the Swiss fans are expecting to see from the team?
Lang: For me, I don’t feel any pressure you know, it’s just something I truly enjoy. I’ve been playing 3x3 for as long as I can remember. We have Urban Project involved and they really organise the 3x3 events here throughout the summers and it gives us the opportunity to play and have fun and compete with our friends. Now that FIBA is over it and giving the Swiss team the opportunity to play in the World Tour Masters, I know its it’s on another level but for me it’s not any pressure, of course I’m going to go out there and try to compete. I mean that’s all I can do and try to perform and enjoy at the same time. I know I have a lot of support, I have a lot of friends here, a lot of them are already coming so its going to be really cool you know and really entertaining. I just hope that we can have some muscle and enough energy and strategies to compete with the teams that have already been doing this for three or four years so that’s the biggest thing.
FIBA.com/3x3WorldTour: Switching over from being a traditional 5x5 player and now going to 3x3, you’ve played for fun but playing at this competitive level, how does that change you as a player? What do you enjoy the most about this new format and what are some of its challenges?
Lang: 3x3 I think it becomes more competitive because the floor spacing it's very competitive. You have to individually stay with your man, defensively and offensively; you got to be able to create. You don't have to use your team more as in a 5x5 setting. So you have to be with the shot clock being only 12 seconds, it’s very fast paced at all times, you know, and like I said the strategies involved in it on a defensive stand point its like if the ball is coming out of the net, defensively you can stop the opponent from reaching the outer limits for checking to being able to score again fast so there are some different strategic things that were still trying to become aware of and to make it possible for us to have an advantage as well. I mean it’s going to be very challenging I know that for sure, but we’re going to be able to compete though.
FIBA.com/3x3WorldTour: You've got a really strong team with you - Oliver [Vogt], Dramane [Diarra], and Nikola [Stevanovic]. You’re all essential parts of the team and you all add an impressive skill set to the game. What do you think, as a whole, are the teams' strengths? Individually?
Lang: As a whole, our strength in particular I would say would be first just a knowledge of the game but then trying to turn that knowledge into the 3x3 format, you know, on a professional level, playing in a game so I think we can adapt very quickly just being professionals so I think that will be our strongest part. I’m looking forward to playing with them because they all bring a large experience of playing basketball and they’re great people who love to play together, you know be a team commodity. I mean when you have those top people, anything is possible when you play on a team in basketball. They’re all great basketball players with their own type of abilities and skills so we all have different components that we add to the group so that makes us a good, dynamic team.
FIBA.com/3x3WorldTour: Are there any teams your especially looking forward to facing on the court this weekend?
Lang: No, not in particular. I’ve watched some other teams, they’re all pretty good teams so I mean the Slovenian teams are definitely the ones to beat or to watch, they’re pretty good so I think as long as we can pull an upset during this tournament it would be very, very good. At this point I just want to beat everyone not just one team.
Article by Shannon Elliott