Few basketball fans outside of Poland knew versatile forward Damian Kulig of PGE Turow Zgorzelec before the start of the 2014-15 Turkish Airlines Euroleague. It has taken Kulig a few weeks to earn his name in the competition, surprising a lot of people with his aggressive and intense playing style, soft touch and winning mentality. Kulig has scored in double digits in all six games so far, averaging 17.3 points (fifth overall) on 64.4% two-point shooting and 44.4% three-point shooting.
He is also averaging 5.5 points, 1 steal and 1.2 blocks thus far. Kulig shined in his team's first-ever Euroleague win with 22 points and 6 rebounds to lead Turow over FC Bayern Munich 89-78. At age 27, Kulig had no previous Euroleague or Eurocup experience, but has made the most of this opportunity after flying under the radar for many years. Kulig always believed in his abilities and his being fully aware of them has helped him to shine in Europe's most demanding competition right away, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "Being aware of my own skills, athletic and basketball, gives me confidence on the court," Kulig told Euroleague.net. "I am seeing the results of the hard work I did for many years."
Hello, Damian, congratulations on a great Euroleague season. How do you like being part of it and how exciting has it been to play in this competition?
"Thank you very much! I have to say I am very excited to have the chance to play in the Euroleague. This is my debut in this competition and believe me, it is an amazing experience."
Few people knew you before you made your Euroleague debut. How would you describe yourself as a player?
"Well, I really don't like to talk about me. What I have been trying to do is show my skills on the basketball court."
Still, it is not easy to play so well in your first Euroleague season. What allowed you to feel so comfortable right away?
"I would say that it is because of the confidence of my coach and teammates. I also think that being aware of my own skills, athletic and basketball, gives me confidence on the court. I am seeing the results of the hard work I did for many years."
You are also playing two games a week, too. How has that helped you to do better — playing more games, especially in such a demanding competition as the Euroleague?
"It is not first time in my career that I play two games a week. I played two seasons in the VTB League with PGE Turow Zgorzelec. Of course, the playing level is bigger in the Euroleague and it is harder, but makes me be more satisfied."
You have felt equally comfortable at the power forward and the center position. Which one do you like it best?
"Honestly, I prefer to play as a center, with the possibility to take three-point shots from time to time."
Team captain Filip Dylewicz, who plays in your same position, has been around the Euroleague a lot before this season. Did he give you any valuable advice?
"First of all, Filip Dylewicz is the classic power forward and of course, he has a lot of experience and has given me plenty of valuable advice. He believes in me and looks to get me involved on the court when he sees that I am having a good game."
Few people expected Turow to be so competitive in the Euroleague, but you beat FC Bayern Munich and were close to winning some other games. How is the team enjoying the experience?
"I regret that we didn't win at least two more games which were really close. Of course, like you said, this is our first Euroleague season and I think we still can surprise. We will fight until the last game!"
Your next game is on the road against Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, a team you were close to beating in Lubin. What did you learn from that game that you can use this time around in order to beat them?
"Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul is a great team. They have a lot of very good players and Andrew Goudelock, who is an almost perfect player. We have to search for new answers on offense because our opponent showed that it was well-prepared on defense in our last game."
At age 27, the best part of your career is still ahead of you. Which are the next goals for Damian Kulig, going forward?
"I would like to win the Polish championship. Of course, making it to the Top 16 with Turow this season would be a dream-come-true!"