Ilian Evtimov (Chalon): Chris Ensminger Loves Basketball And It Doesn’t Matter The Age, He Still Has Love For The Ball

Ilian Evtimov is a 28 year old 201 cm forward playing his second season in France for Chalon. He has the French-Bulgarian citzenships and played at North Carolina State from 2001-2006. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 10.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FG: 45.3%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT. After a short stint with Estudiantes Madrid in 2006, he played at VidiVici Bologna in the 2006-2007 season. He played FIBA EuroCup playing 15 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.4rpg, 2FGP: 65.4%, 3FGP: 47.1%, FT: 72.2%; and playing15 games in the Italian league averaging 3.1ppg, 2.1rpg. In 2007-2008, he moved to The Deutsche Bank Skyliners playing 10 ULEB Cup games averaging 14.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 85%; and in the German League playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 86.2%. In 2008-2009, he continued playing in Frankfurt playing 10 EuroChallenge:  games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 70.0%; and in the German League playing 34 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 74.6%. In 2009-2010, he played for BC Levski Sophia (Bulgaria-NBL): 1 game: 6pts, 5reb, 2ast, 3steals; Balkan League: 1 game: 3pts, 1reb, 1ast, 2steals; in Oct.’09 moved to Proteas EKA AEL Limassol (Cyprus-Division EuroChallenge: 13 games: 10.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 45.6%, FT: 83.3%: FT-2(90.9%). Last season, he played for Chalon playing  33 games: 11.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurochallenge game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn January 18th.

Chalon continues to play great basketball. How good does it feel sitting in first place?

Its a great opportunity to be first, especially in a very strong league like France.

You will play against 2011 top France PRO A scorer Rick Hughes. What is always the most important thing you have to do against him on the court?

I know Rick for a few years now, we have played many games against each other. He is a great player, extremely gifted, and it doesn’t matter the age he has, he is always getting numbers. I got a lot of respect for him.

After winning the cup last year how realistic is it becoming France champion 2012?

Our goal is to win a title this year. If possible more than one, we know we can do it because we are a better team than last year. More mature, and we have been together for longer now since we changed only one player.

How has coach Gregor Beugnot made you better as a player?

Coach Beugnot is an extremely good coach. He is well respected all over Europe, and each advice he gives is a golden one. He has made me play with less mistakes, and smarter. I continue to listen so I can improve my skills.

You still haven´t played against friend Greg Jenkins. What do you miss about him?

I can’t wait for that game next week. We have been talking about it on skype with Greg. This is going to be much fun as it was when we practiced and played together in Frankfurt.

What are the chances of Chalon in Eurochallenge against Bonn, Aalstar and Szolnok?

We have good odds to qualify, it is matter of being concentrated and winning games. Sometimes it is hard to do so because of the intensity of the home competition, but the Eurochallenge is very important to our team so we are always fully concentrated.

What are your memories of playing against Chris Copeland in the BEKO BBL?

I remember him, a great player, very versatile, and very good. This is going to be a very good match up.

What will be key in winning in Eurochallenge play in Bonn?

Bonn is a good team and with experience with Ensminger. And a great coach with M. Koch. I am looking forward to this game.

Chris Ensminger is 38 and plays like he is 28. Will he still be playing when your son turns professional? lol

Why not? LOL. He is a friend and continues to show that he loves basketball and it doesn’t matter the age, he still has love for the ball.

When you played against Anthony Tolliver in 2008 with Frankfurt, did you ever think that he could reach the NBA?

I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but Tolliver is a great player. To make the NBA requires a certain level of skill, and work ethic, and that is what he has. He is a very good player.

What would be the first thing that you would ask Jimmy Mckinney if you saw him again?

I will ask him how he is doing. He has been in Frankfurt for a long time now and that says a lot about him. It is difficult to stay in one team for so long. This means there is mutual respect between both parties and it is rare to find players like that.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Dilemma. A very funny movie with Vince Vaughn. I recommend it.

Thanks Evti for the chat

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