By Justin Renck:
What better day to post an interview with Kyle Kuric, than on Louisville vs Syracuse day! We all remember when Kuric made his name as a Louisville Cardinal in the final game at Freedom Hall in 2010 against #1 Syracuse. So today just seems appropriate for this. I wanted to catch up with Kyle and see what he has been up to since leaving Louisville. He catches us up on where he plays now, Kyle’s Korner for Kids, and he talks about that famous Syracuse game! Enjoy!
Justin: Hey Kyle, just start off by telling us about your basketball days now. The team you are on, where you are located, just basic info. Are any other Americans on your team that maybe people have heard of?
Kyle: I’m playing in Madrid, Spain for Asefa Estudiantes. There are 2 other Americans on the team: Tariq Kirksay, and Lamont Barnes and a Canadian who played for University of Hawaii, Carl English. Most of the guys on the team speak at least some English so communicating isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but still poses a challenge.
Justin: What has been the biggest adjustment off the court to moving across the world?
Kyle: By far the biggest adjustment is the language barrier. We’ve adapted pretty well now but at first was very difficult. Simple things that you don’t think of become huge obstacles. Example would be going to the grocery store and trying to find meat; is this turkey, ham, chicken?
Justin: Speaking of the language barrier, here is a video of a question and answer with Kyle and some fans of his new team. I don’t understand the questions, but you can definitely understand the answers!
Justin: I see that your team recently made “The Cup”. Tell us about that.
Kyle: The Kings Cup (Copa Del Rey) is a midsession tournament that only the top 8 teams qualify for. It is in Victoria, Spain. It’s a single elimination tournament and our first game is against Valencia. It’s a very important tournament for them, they compare it to our NCAA Tourney.
Justin: What are some differences in playing overseas rather than playing in the states?
Kyle: Some difference playing in Spain are: the language (as mentioned earlier), it’s a lot more tactical here. For example, if there’s a 3-2 or 2-1 fast break you foul to stop it from becoming an easy basket. In the states you try and avoid fouling. There is some scouting here and we do watch film but it isn’t to the extent that we did in Louisville.
Justin: Tell us about how Kyle’s Korner for Kids went.
Kyle: Kyle’s Korner for Kids went great this year. We had a lot of help from UofL athletics to friends of mine. My family and friends collected toys at a game and then sent some of the toys to Home of the Innocents and some were delivered by Peyton Siva and Miss Kentucky Amanda Mertz! We are looking forward to doing it again next year. I also visited a hospital over here with my teammates this past Christmas and I’m hoping we can extend our help over here for the children in Madrid as well next year.
Justin: With the big game coming up today against Syracuse, I have to bring up the last game in Freedom Hall. What was going through your mind that day while it was happening? And how did that game change your life?
Kyle: Everybody knew this was a big game for many reasons: last game at the historic Freedom Hall, it was against the #1 team in the country, we were fighting to make the NCAA tournament, and it was senior night. We had a lot to play for. Coach had told me at halftime that if I don’t want to shoot then he’ll put someone in that will shoot. So I didn’t have anything to lose, if I shoot and miss no problem but if I don’t then I come out. So I just stopped caring basically and shot whenever I had the opportunity to. Teammates kept finding me open on the left side so I kept shooting. And it just kept going and going.
This game was my best game as a Cardinal to date and really gave me the confidence going into the next year that I’m good enough to play here and be an impact player.
Kyle: Yeah I’ve been able to keep up with the team this year on ESPN3. They look pretty good and their defense looks great. They can go far, they just need to stay healthy and humble.
Justin: Anything you would like to say to the UofL fans?
Kyle: I definitely want to thank everyone for brining toys to Kyle’s Korner for Kids and I miss getting to see and interact with our fans. We have the greatest fans in the nation.
Justin: I want to thank Kyle for taking the time to answer these questions and get them back to me before the game today! Here are his stats so far this season:
16 games 17.4 min 8.4 ppg 1.6 rpg 30-48 field goals (62.5%) 21-49 3 point field goals (42.9%) 12-15 FT (80%)
Check out his team’s website here http://www.eurobasket.com/team.asp?Cntry=esp&Team=198
And just for fun, here is Kyle’s monster dunk at Notre Dame! Of course according to Bob Knight, he then made that “idiotic motion” to get a technical, but whatever!