Arturas Karnisovas Interview
The adidas Eurocamp is celebrating it's 10th anniversary and will kick off Sunday 10th, running through the 12th. Arturas Karnisovas, longtime NBA scout and former European player has been announced as the new adidas Eurocamp director.
NBADraft.net: You were announced as the new adidas Eurocamp director. First off, congratulations. Talk about what makes it such an important and special event.
Arturas Karnisovas: First of all it's a great honor to be appointed as the director of the camp. I knew forever that this was the premiere international predraft camp. That showcases the top international basketball prospects. On top of that, this year it's celebrating it's tenth anniversary. It's been in Treviso the entire time. It's a three day camp that brings all the best young players from Europe together. NBA coaches and International coaches get a chance to work with these players through drills, stations and games. I'm absolutely honored to do that.
NBADraft.net:The event (June 10-13) is entering its 10th year. Anything special planned for the Anniversary?
Arturas Karnisovas: Special...Well we try to improve all the time. We're trying to add more things. We've changed the format a little bit. We're bringing in some new teams. So we're going to announce that soon. The format and the things that we are trying to include are constantly evolving. Our first objective is to get the best talent, and go from there.
NBADraft.net: Looking at the Eurocamp roster I was surprised to see such a great field of talent. How were you able to secure so many of the top International prospects?
Arturas Karnisovas: I will give credit to our working group, relationships, camp's reputation and would like to extend a huge thank you to european teams, agents and coaches that responded and helped us to accomplish that.
NBADraft.net: French SG Evan Fournier is headlining the camp and not going to the Chicago Draft combine. How were you able to persuade him to come to Treviso and not Chicago?
Arturas Karnisovas: Again, this camp is a perfect set up for Euro players to bring out the very best they have to offer. Players believe and their representative believe that.
NBADraft.net: Do you think its important that the camp is directed by an NBA scout?
Arturas Karnisovas: It's a huge importance for the NBA and the NBA teams. The number of players from this camp that have been drafted is 56 from the past 9 years, we have a lot of former players under contract in Europe, 60 of which are in Euroleague so that's a significant number too and it shows the importance for not only NBA scouts but European scouts to attend the event.
NBADraft.net: So you being an NBA scout, that sort of gives you and ability to see the best players to bring in and the ability to run it better than say somebody that isn't in the NBA and wouldn't know how to showcase the best guys and what to look for and what other NBA scouts are looking for, would you say that's accurate?
Arturas Karnisovas: Well I hope I'm adding value from different directions. Being an ex-European player and knowing the European market as well as the NBA, I know what Europeans are looking for and what NBA teams are looking for so I'm kind of trying to address all sides, trying to do the best that we can to make everybody happy.
NBADraft.net: I have heard grumbling from scouts in the past that it could be viewed as an unfair advantage for an NBA scout to coordinate it. Is there any concern about that for you?
Arturas Karnisovas: I don't consider it a concern because it's being done openly. We're communicating with all the teams. We're communicating with the league. If anything I'm worried about possibly missing my duties as an international scout but we bring in other player personnel too to be very detailed. We try to build a camp based on all the needs of the teams, and also European teams. We're addressing all of the issues. It's a very unique camp, and it's an unbelievable experience to be a part of.
NBADraft.net: The adidas Eurocamp has become an essential event for NBA scouts, what changes if any do you feel are necessary?
Arturas Karnisovas: We are open to people's opinions on how we can make it better. People have loved it in the past, people love it now. They love the set up that we have in Treviso with everything being close. Of course the incredible relationship that we have with local parties. We hope to continue that relationship keep the camp in Treviso.
NBADraft.net: The camp's biggest challenge has always been bringing in the top prospects. What makes that so difficult?Which prospects will be the priority this year?
Arturas Karnisovas: I think that the difficult part is the cyclical thing in terms of talent. We all know that last year there were lot of top international players that practiced. This year we're going to try to combine the best international talent available for this draft and also display the players that will be available in the near future. Which is the following year and after. So I think it's important to get the best talent possible and I think the agents and teams that have those players that are interested in showcasing those players, and we'll try to find a way to get those top players in agreement to get the best talent possible for the event.
NBADraft.net: You mentioned to me that the National teams you are planning to have in will be Russia, Croatia and AIS the Australian Institute of Sport. Talk a little about the talent on these teams.
Arturas Karnisovas: Well I think those particular countries have displayed huge success with young players and we are taking the opportunity to invite them this year. In the past we've tried to rotate the teams that come. And this year, those are the teams that we're going to have.
NBADraft.net: This is considered a down year for international talent with no surefire first rounders, after last year saw 4 top ten picks. How do you assess the field this year?
Arturas Karnisovas: Well like I said before. It's a combination of things. I think that it will be a combination of players for this year and the very near future. As this camp has shown in the past, the players that shine in this camp improve their ability to get drafted higher. I think we will see after the camp, that there are certain players with a chance to improve their positions.
NBADraft.net: A number of scouts here have mentioned that they had Jonas Valanciunas as their number one overall prospect for last year's draft. Despite the fears about his contract, did he go too low at 5?
Arturas Karnisovas: You can go team to team and have their opinion. Right now, it's too early to say. To know for that particular draft, we need time. Especially for Valanciunas to showcase his talent in the league, then we can get together and discuss it, right now it's too early to say.
NBADraft.net: Talk a little about the state of International prospects. After Dirk there may have been a slight overvaluation. And then after Darko and Skita a bit of an "under-valuation". Are international players being given the respect they deserve right now?
Arturas Karnisovas: I think we have the right mind right now. I graduated college in '94 and the European players were considered soft then and then we got in the mode where we're going to draft anybody.... So I think we are in a very good position right now. Teams are doing their jobs diligently and getting background information and getting the proper information, and choosing very carefully. At the same time I think that the number of International players is staying very steady. The league currently has between 80-90 international players playing. That's a high number and International basketball is at a high level and I expect that to keep growing.
NBADraft.net: Do NBA teams on average put the necessary resources into scouting internationally?
Arturas Karnisovas: You can go team to team. Each team stresses it's international scouting differently. The information is stressed by all teams. I can speak for most of the teams, I think that they pay close attention. The NBA scouts are constantly at the games. They stay on top of the best talent in Europe and do a good job. And I think the trend is going to continue with International players going into the NBA.