Denys Klevzunyk: " Mariupol has blossomed lately, but now everything is destroyed"

Денис Клевзуник: «Маріуполь останнім часом розцвів, його реконструювали. А зараз усе це знищили»

The youth of BC "Prometey", who recently joined the team under the leadership of coach Oleksandr Pashchenko, are already preparing for the new season. The press service of the club spoke with the newcomer of the team, Denys Klevzunyk.

- Denys, we are glad to welcome you in Prometey. Tell us, please, about yourself, about your path in basketball, how did you first come to practice, at what age, who was your first coach? Why did you choose basketball?

- I am originally from Mariupol. I started playing basketball there at the age of 10. The first coach is Volodymyr Mashira. He, let’s say, found me, brought me to basketball, said, "try it, If you don't like it, you won't go." I tried it, I really liked it. After all, from that day it was necessary not only to go to school, but also do something else. I was very interested, so I continued attending trainings.

-Then you spent several years at "Khimik" with Oleksandr Pashchenko. Now, in "Prometey", you will again play under the guidance of this coach. Are you happy to be in his team again? What can you say about working with him?

- Yes, of course, definitely happy. I perfectly know his requirements in basketball, in tactics, because we have been working with him for several years. So, I know what he wants from me, what I can give very well. He knows my skills well; I understand what the coach wants from me when I'm on the court. Oleksandr Serhiyovych is a very good coach. Moreover, we have a lot of young people in our team, and he is one of the best coaches in Ukraine when it comes to working with young people. I believe that we have assembled an excellent team with an excellent coaching staff. Everything is perfect. I am so excited to work with him again.

- Yes, Oleksandr Pashchenko is indeed one of the most successful in working with young people. Many players of National team started under his guidance in Yuzhny.

- Yes, indeed, a lot. For example, Serhiy Pavlov, Illia Sydorov and Viacheslav Petrov, who are now in “Prometey”.

- You are not the only one who joined our club from “Khimik”, there are other young guys as well. What can you say about them?

- Yes, I can say that we have half of the young players from "Khimik" and half of those who remained in "Prometey". We are just getting to know each other; we are looking closely at each other. So far so good. We will practice interactions at trainings, get used to each other. We will do our best to fight and win. We set the highest goals for ourselves.

- If we talk more detailed about the goals, what tasks exactly you set for yourself in "Prometey"?

- In such a club, there are always the highest goals: to win every game, give out 100%, give all your strength on the court. I aspire to develop further as a professional player, to play more intelligently, because basketball is a game where you have to think, there are many subtleties in it. Therefore, I want to improve myself, make myself better, help the team, do everything possible that depends on me.

- I also wanted to talk to you about the experience of playing for the Ukrainian National team. You played 31 matches for the U16 and U18 teams. What memories do you have of the days and months in the national team?

- Then, both in U16 and U18, all the boys knew each other well, so there were no particular problems. Basketball players who played in foreign teams, for instance, from the USA, also came, but there were no problems with mutual understanding. We had a gathering for a month or a month and a half, it seems not much, to prepare and understand each other, but all of us were in the same conditions. All the boys tried to give out one hundred percent. A great season was when we, 1999 year of birth, played at the U18 European Championship. Issuf Sanon was with us then. I remember how we conceded to Spaniards in overtime. And when we left the court, the whole hall applauded us, it was very nice. We did our best, but it was not possible to win. This is the most memorable moment of all in the National teams.

- We cannot help but touch on the horror that is happening in Ukraine. The previous season ended early; it was a shock for all of us. You were in Yuzhny - always a calm, quiet, prosperous city. What do you remember most from those days? What were the thoughts? What did you feel

- Terrible memories. The first time I could not calm down. As I said, I am from Mariupol. And my whole family was there. Relatives left under shelling, got out to an urban-type village nearby. They stayed there for some time. Then my mother and grandmother came to me in Yuzhne. Only then did become a little calmer. I read the news, watch videos and I can't imagine how it is possible to live in Mariupol now. People live right in the streets, cook food on fires, all the houses around have been destroyed. It is psychologically very difficult to endure. I came home last summer and saw that the city just blossomed, a lot of things were being reconstructed, it became really very beautiful place there. And now all these efforts have simply come to nothing. It is very hard to talk about it.

-I understand. And the worst thing is that we cannot do anything and change it somehow. Let's look towards the future, let's not end on a sad note, but let's address those people who are waiting for your games. It is clear, that during martial law you will have to play without spectators, but the club will do everything possible for funs to cheer for you, watch the games, even on video. What would you like to say to people who will support you during the season?

- We all understand the current situation in our country. I want people to think not only about the bad things, to distract from it, to watch basketball. We will be very pleased if they watch us, support us, regardless of victories or defeats. Do not forget about basketball, watch us, I hope everything will be fine, we will play and please the audience with our game.

Денис Клевзуник