|Jaywuan Hill. — Photo webthethao.vn|
After facing many challenges, the Thang Long Warriors finally earned the Việt Nam Basketball Association (VBA) title. This meant a lot to the recruit Warriors, especially their American player, Jaywuan Hill, who won the event’s Most Valuable Player award.
The 28-year-old scored one third of total points for the Warriors in each game to help his team top the event’s regular season. When entering the playoffs, Hill scored 33 points in every game to beat Hanoi Buffaloes. In the finals, with the average point of 29, Hill led the Warriors to overcome Cantho Catfish after five dramatic matches. Thanh Nga talks to Hill.
Inner Sanctum: You have won the VBA’s Most Valuable Player award. How do you feel?
It’s a wonderful feeling to get this award. I’ve worked extremely hard to make this moment happen. My teammates, coaches and the Thang Long Warriors’ organisation believed in me every step of the way this season, and I thank them so much for what they have done for me.
Inner Sanctum: For you, what’s the most impressive part about the VBA this season?
The most impressive part for me is taking a new organisation to the finals, and also winning it all for the Warriors. That is for the history books.
Inner Sanctum: When did you come to Việt Nam and which teams did you play for?
I came to Việt Nam last year and I played for Hochiminh City Wings at the VBA 2016, and for the Thang Long Warriors now for the second season.
Inner Sanctum: Do you notice any difference between the Warriors in this year’s season and the Wings in the last tournament?
As you know, the Wings lost to the Danang Dragons in the finals, last year. However, I competed with a wonderful team. The Wings played very well during that season but our physical strength wasn’t good enough for the finals.
This year, everything changed a little bit. The Warriors owned many young aces. They thirsted for playing, and performed very enthusiastically in every game. As it is the second season of the VBA, all the teams prepared carefully. I was also eager to compete more, as failure in the last event was a great driving force for me in this year’s tourney.
Inner Sanctum: Your pain seems to have burned out?
I regret that I couldn’t help the Wings triumph at the VBA last year. It became a pain, a concern during many months after the event concluded. This year, I didn’t want to taste failure once more, so I made every effort while training and competing. I put my hopes in this year’s season. I believed the Warriors had all the conditions to take the title and I believed I could help the team reach the podium.
Inner Sanctum: What will you do after the VBA 2017 ends?
I will head to the National Basketball League of Canada and compete for the Niagara River Lions team.
I had many options across Argentina, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Australia, as well as Panama, Indonesia and Canada. But at last, I selected Canada.
Inner Sanctum: What do you think about the potential of basketball development in Việt Nam?
The development of basketball in Việt Nam is amazing. The VBA has two seasons and the growth of basketball is beautiful. The atmosphere is wonderful. Basketball brings everyone together and that’s the beauty of sports. Vietnamese players are getting better every season because they are being trained by American coaches and are playing with American players. So in the next few years, the players will be excellent.
Inner Sanctum: Do you intend to return to Việt Nam to compete in the VBA next year?
I have strong intentions to come back for the VBA 2018. — VNS