Pavlin Ivanov Interview
By Giovanni Conte
Pavlin Ivanov is one of the most interesting shooting guards of the next generation in Europe.
Born in 1993, the 6'4 shooting guard has a smooth ability to score and create off the dribble is uncommon for an eighteen year old. Born in Yambol, Bulgaria, he moved in Treviso (Italy) three years ago to play for Benetton Basket, one of the top organizations in Europe. “Pav” is shy, but smart and a very nice guy: with his money he helps his family that still lives in Bulgaria.
He started to play basketball in Yambol with "Tiger Yambol” under coach Zdravko Yanchev, who helped him to become what he is now, a young player who practices many hours a day.
The Italian league rules (only three non-EU players per team) do not favor the rise of this guy, but against his same age players he is simply unstoppable. So, in front of a juice and some pastries we talk together:
NBADraft.net: After adidas Nations in Chicago (2010 summer), you experienced time in USA, can you tell us something about this experience?
Ivanov: I went in Chicago after played European championship (division A) with my national team, so I was really ready to show my skills. It was the first time for me in USA, and we played in the city of Michael Jordan: I was very excited but I made a great performance.
NBADraft.net: Someone compared you with the Croatian star Drazen Petrovic: what are your thoughts about this?
Ivanov: (Laugh) No… to much! He was too good!
NBADraft.net: And so, who’s your favorite player?
Ivanov: I like Derrick Rose, and also Kobe Bryant of course… In my role he is the best example.
NBADraft.net:What kind of player are you?
Ivanov: I like to score, so I prefer to play shooting guard. But I can play all first three roles (point guard, shooting guard and small forward). I play what I have to play.
NBADraft.net: Due to Italian League rules in the future it could be difficult for you to play: do you think that another situation can be better for you?
Ivanov: I came in Treviso when I was fifteen and now it is my second home. Here I practice very hard with top coaches, like Renato Pasquali (he is also in the staff on Canadian national team, ndr). Besides Benetton was the launching pad of a lot of NBA players like Bargnani, Nachbar, Tskitishvili, Tony Kukoc… and I also hope one day to play in NBA, so I think that this is the best situation for me.
NBADraft.net: You are not playing with the first team, but with the junior team you are really devastating…
IVanov: The summer months were really incredible: I won the Italian championship Under 19 and I was named MVP; then I won European Championship (Under 18 division B) and I was named MVP again! In September I also played in FIBA U18 All Star Game… Unfortunately I can play only some minutes due to small injuries. But now I want to play with Benetton senior team… I hope to have a chance.(Maybe when NBA start again and E’Twaun Moore, the starting shooting guard of Benetton Basket, - he has a contract with an NBA escape clause will look to go back to the USA).
NBADraft.net: Is your dream to play in the NBA?
Ivanov: Yes of course! Step by step, for now I am focused on Italian championship where I hope to play as soon as possible, but I know that I have to work hard…and it is what I am doing thanks to Benetton organization.