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Alexander Porotnikov on the Russian U18 National Team: "We were like one big family"

July 10, 2024
Zenit Basketball Academy guard Alexander Porotnikov spoke about his busy summer spent as with the U18 Russian National Team, shared his impressions of international tournaments and plans for the future.


— You've spent the entire summer with the National Team. Was it productive?


— This season was quite unique as it lasted from August to mid-July. The training sessions were high-quality, focusing on everything required on the court: from communication to specific interactions. There was little time for rest, so the entire camp, including the tournament in Iran, was accompanied by minor injuries.


— Recently, the U18 National Team won an international tournament in Iran. Are you satisfied with the result?


— The tournament was very interesting, even though only three teams participated. It was a great experience: different speeds, different contact, different decision-making. Considering that the Turkish National Team regularly competes in European and World Championships, I believe the result was excellent.


— How would you rate your performance in Serbia and Iran at the Kalleh Cup?


— I would rate my performance in Serbia and Iran as satisfactory. I know I could have played much better: fatigue, both physical and mental, and minor injuries caused discomfort.


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— Which game was the toughest in your opinion?


— The toughest game, in my opinion, was against the Dynamic team. Almost all the players on the opposing team were born in 2006 and were called up to their National Team. There was a level of contact we hadn't encountered in Russia, but we started playing from defense, communicated excellently, and eventually won.


— Many note that there is a good atmosphere in the team. Do you agree?


— I can confidently say that we were like one big family in the National Team. Everyone communicated well with each other, found common topics, and supported one another. After integrating players from the U20 team, the team became even more cohesive.


— Last year, you won the IX Russian-Chinese Youth Games in Chongqing with the U16 team. Which victory is more valuable?


— Both victories are valuable. In China, those were our first games at an international level, while in Serbia and Iran we gained even more experience against international teams of a different level of play.


— In a month, the training camp for Zenit Basketball Academy teams will begin. Will you have enough time to rest?


— I think so. There is a lot of work ahead to prepare for the new season. It's important to recover well to approach it in the best shape. I set high goals for myself for the season.


— How do you plan to spend the rest of the summer?


— Upon returning to St. Petersburg, I plan to take just under a week off from sports, only doing stretching exercises. Then there will be individual work with our physical training coach Anton Filatov, and I'll also be working on various aspects in the basketball gym while starting to prepare for my final exams. And in August, the camps will already begin.

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