By Pete Simmons
Today, Kavell Bigby-Williams will become the fourth British player ever to reach the NCAA Final Fours. When you consider he follows Karl Brown, Ben Baum and Luol Deng, you know he’s in good company.
Bigby-Williams, last year’s JUCO Player of the Year, helped the University of Oregon upset top seeds Kansas 74–60 in the Elite Eight, setting them up against North Carolina tonight in Phoenix (8:49pm local tip).
I was able to grab some time with the former GB U20 in Phoenix ahead of his final practice session.
How have you found playing your basketball in the states with Oregon?
“The level’s really good and so I’ve had to make some adjustments to my game. I’ve been able to learn from my experience and develop the time has gone on.
“The facilities are really good and sometimes easier to play in than back home. I’ve learned a lot from the coaching out here and learned how different people study other players — it’s been pretty good.”
What are your thoughts heading into the North Carolina game?
“I’m excited by it. I’m really looking forward to the game. Hopefully we can go out there and get the win. I’m looking forward to playing against that type of talent and to see how I match-up against that level.
“Not many British players have had the opportunity to experience basketball at this level, reaching the last four. To be amongst those elite company of players of Luol, Ben and Karl makes me really soak up the experience and appreciate it a lot.
“It’s been nice to put my team and country out there. It’s really nice to have the support back home. There are a lot of talented players coming through from the basketball community back home to over here playing at D1 level. So for me I’ll do what I can for my country to showcase that.”
Looking ahead to this summer and the next couple of years, what are your hopes?
“I have spoken with the GB head coach Joe Prunty. Hopefully if I keep working hard and doing what I know I can do, hopefully I can be in that GB team and make an impact at Eurobasket to help us win. A big part at that level is about winning and hopefully I can have an impact to help that.
“My aims are to keep learning and improving. I’m going to try to play in the NBA, that’s one of my goals to play at that level.”
Hoopsfix wants to wish Kavell all the best in the Final Four!
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