Former French League MVP Blake Schilb is playing his fourth Eurocup season with a third different team — CEZ Basketball Nymburk, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade and now Paris Levallois. Schilb has found a new home in Paris, where he arrived midway through last season and is taking full advantage of playing elite basketball in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Schilb will speak his mind in his Eurocup blog, as he tries to take Paris deep into the 2014-15 Eurocup season.
Our 90-87 win last week against CAI Zaragoza was a good one for us. After our previous loss, we really wanted to win this game and prove that we want to go to the next round. We knew that we played in Zaragoza and they beat us by one point, so we had a good chance to beat them here at home. We wanted the points difference but of course, we just wanted to get the win since we lost there by one. I think everybody wanted that goal and stuck to it the whole game. We had a very good start to the game, but at this level, five or 10 points can be turned around really fast. Everybody is professional out there and they want to win. You have to stay focused the whole game and I think that by having that lead and then letting them get back into the game, we kind of lost our focus for a little bit. We realized what we needed to do, but a big part of it was coming out in the first quarter and scoring a lot of points.
We are unbeaten at home — three games, three wins. That's what we wanted to do. We let one victory slip out of our hands in Bonn, where we had a good chance to win. In the last quarter, we folded a little bit and let that one get away. It would have been nice to win there, but we are still trying to win all our games at home and we know that if we can steal one on the road before the first round is over, that will better our chances. We are playing better and looking forward to our next game against Reggio Emilia. We beat them pretty badly here at home but I am sure the game over there will be a whole different story. They are in desperate need of wins, too. I am sure that, with their backs against the wall, they want to come out and prove themselves as well. We have to know, going into that game, that just because we had pretty good games at home, we cannot just take it easy. We cannot think that they will fold. I don't think that they will.
We cannot complain much about the travelling. Paris is a great city, very well connected. The travelling isn't bad at all. We are just 20-30 minutes away from either airport here in Paris and sometimes the traffic is bad but once you get there, it is not that bad. We in a location to where we can go anywhere in Europe from Paris. It is pretty good. We took the train to Bonn and it was three hours. It was quite a quick trip! I don't think anybody was tired. We got there and back in good time. We took a private plane to Zaragoza for our first game. It wasn't bad either, just the players and the coaching staff on the plane. It was a small plane and there was some scary turbulence. Everybody is there together and you are looking at each other like saying "Oh man, what's gonna happen!?!". You realize you are all in the same plane and you have stick it out and stay together, be calm together and try to weather the storm.
We have fixed roommates. I have had Maleye Ndoye as my roommate this season. He is the captain, he is from Senegal and played with his national team in the FIBA World Cup last summer. He is kind of the mediator between a lot of the French players and the foreigners because he can speak French and English. He does a lot of the translating for our coach and does a good job as the captain. He is on the phone most of the time — sometimes I can't believe that somebody can be on the phone so long and so much! I think he's calling to Senegal a lot, speaking in French, and I am thinking he is the president of Senegal. It is crazy!
There is a lot of down time when you play on the road. You have practices, games and pretty much nothing else the rest of the time. I watch some TV shows. I have been watching the latest season of The Walking Dead. I have been reading some books, too. I talk to my family a lot. We just had a baby three months ago so whenever I am on the road, I miss them a lot and try to stay in contact with them. Skype, Facetime and other applications in which you can just type and send pictures and little videos help a lot that I am not missing out too much on family time. It is definitely easier to stay in contact with everybody globally these days. I talk to my family in the U.S., so far away, without any delay.
Certainly, our main goal is to advance. I think that we are a team that is going to get better as the season goes along. We have a lot of veterans and we're getting some players back who were injured. We just added Dionte Christmas to the roster, which gives us a big boost. We have a very good upside. He came right away and made an impact in the last two games! I think he is exactly what the team needed.
Last but not least, I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, especially to my teammates, my family and friends in the U.S. and all the American players in Europe. It is a very special celebration for us! So, Happy Thanksgiving from the Schilbs!