The 24-year-old Latvian was mostly responsible for his team’s wondrous start of the season, as Rapla managed to hit it off with a 3-1 start during the initial month, while he achieved three double-doubles and averaged 18 points and 10.8 rebounds. Zeidaks summed to an average of 26.3 ranking points per game, all while shooting an outrageous 71.4% from two-point range.
BBL.net spoke to Kristars about what this award means to him, his journeyman career, where he envisions himself in the future and the amazing support of Rapla fans.
First of all, congratulations on the October MVP honors! Do these kind of awards have any special meaning to you?
Thank you very much! You know, these kind of awards just show you that you are on the right path and that you are doing something right. These are basically like little awards for hard work. And at the same time they give you motivation to fight even harder and accomplish even more.
You showed stellar individual numbers, won the MVP award, while Tyco Rapla showcased some solid basketball, taking three victories and losing just once. Apparently, your team has performed much better this season compared to last year when Rapla had same three victories throughout the whole year and missed the playoffs. Has the management or the coaching staff set any specific goals this season? How far do you think this team can go yourself?
Well, we have a great coach and a team full of fighters that will always put the team’s interests before their own, a group of very unselfish and friendly players that will go out and fight as hard as they can. These kind of teams are always very dangerous for any opponent. However, I don’t want to project anything, but one thing is certain – we will give it our all this season.
After three great wins, Rapla suffered a blow-out against Juventus, followed by nail-biting loss against Liepaja/Triobet. Which of these losses hurt more – the one by a big margin or the one that went down to the wire? What can the team make of either of these games and where is the biggest need of improvements.
For me personally the loss against Liepaja hurt more, mostly because they are from my home country Latvia and it’s always a bit personal. In both of these games we had some injury issues but we showed that despite that, we can fight for a victory against any team in the BBL this year.
Let’s talk a bit more about you. During your young career you’ve played in a lot of different countries, ranging from Italy, Spain to the United States and back here in the Baltics. Which part of your career have you enjoyed most?
The hardest year in my life was in Spain, but I am absolutely thankful for that experience. The most exciting year was in America where I had the chance to practice together with 4 top-class players who went on to the NBA a year later. We had an awesome coaching staff and a strength coach who definitely taught me a lot.
You’re amongst the five best rebounders in the league and you’re not too far away from the top in scoring. What do you consider to be the strongest part of your game? Is there any specific element you know you need to improve and what do you focus on during practices?
I think that my strongest side is my aggressiveness on both ends of the court, but due to injuries I have lost some technique and confidence which is coming back gradually and slowly. I focus on everything – there are just so many things in basketball you need to improve and you can never grow tired of it. That is one of the reasons why I love this game.
Where do you see, or at least hope to see, yourself and your career in five years?
I don’t want to be too loud, so I will keep my dreams to myself, but I definitely envision myself playing basketball and having a great career. Hopefully, I’ll have a family of my own in five years.
And last but not least, would you like to pass on anything to the Rapla fans?
So far in my basketball career I have never seen a better home crowd than the one we have here in Rapla, it is awesome to play here and the fans give you so much extra energy! You can tell and feel that they are really enjoying it and rooting for you, it gives you that boost at the end – you don’t want to let them down and it makes you want to win every game even more.