Mike Caffey (183-PG-1993, college: LBSU, agency: Players Group) is a 29 year old 183cm point guard from Corona, California that is playing his sixth professional season and second in the Ukraine and first with BC Kyiv Basket (Ukraine-Superleague) averaging 10.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 38.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.3%. Last season he played with BC Zaporizhye-ZOG (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 51 games: Score-3 (17.2ppg), 4.2rpg, Assists-2 (7.5apg), Steals-2 (1.9spg), FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 75.6%. He also has gained further experience overseas in countries like Slovakia, Finland, Grece and Hungary. He began his basketball career at Centennial High School. He then played at Long Beach State University from 2011-2015 playing a total of 131 games and as a senior averaged 16.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 72.8%. germanhoops.com spoke to the American who was fleeing Ukraine as war had broken out there.
Mike thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Russia is at war with the Ukraine and your there. Your trying to get away now. How is the state of Kyiv the capital where you have played this season?
Beautiful city, a lot of active workers. But days and weeks before the bombing Kyiv and the people here have been very calm about the situation as you know this situation between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for 8 years.
Russia has sent in troops and are attacking the country from all area’s. How much are you fearing for your life?
It’s a scary situation but I feel good about our plan getting me out of here safely.
At the moment your at the airport trying to get to Hungary or Poland and get a flight home. I have seen pictures of the city Kyiv where there is unending traffic. How crazy is the situation at the moment? In the capital?
I’m actually still in the city. Close to my apartment. Once bombings went off flights out of Kyiv started to cancel. And local people started packing up and heading out by car. Which cause a big traffic jam every way out of the city.
Have you had contact to other Americans trying to leave? I’m sure having that contact to fellow Americans in a time like this is very helpful?
Most Americans have left but there’s still a couple from the other Kyiv team ‘Budivelnyk’ and the managers and agents are figuring a way out how to get us all out safely. But yes it’s helpful to get insight from their point of view.
Other Americans from the club Promety have already left. Do you know if the league will shut down now?
At this point the league has cancelled all future games. Prometey’s players are out of the country training for their upcoming champions league game.
Talk a little about the last days in the Ukraine. How did you experience the tension there leading up to the peak today where the country is being attacked?
Tension the last few days grew stronger because of all the post and articles about an invasion so I was pretty much packed and ready before the bombings went off just in case of a quick exit
How tough was it being the only American on the team? Did you form a special extra relationship with a Ukraine teammate over the past weeks to help get through this hard time?
It was different for the little time it was but our team was all close before the Americans left so it wasn’t to hard to connect with the guys once guys left the team.
How did your club handle the situation for the club? You’re the only American on the team. Were they able to comfort you and just really take care of you the last days as the whole war topic was growing?
Yes, the team and my agent would keep me updated with everything going on and was helpful throughout the situation leading up to today
As a guy who hails from California where life seems to be great 360 days a year, how scary has this experience been for you? How have you coped mentally during the last days?
Mentally it was draining just because we aren’t used to living in a possible war zone so it’s been a scary situation.
Covid has been a very tough situation for everyone and now your also confronted with war. When you do get back home, will you view life is a totally different light?
With playing in Ukraine for 2 years I’ve built relationships with a lot of people so I believe I would look at it different just for the concern about my Ukrainian friends
It must be a very tough time for your loved ones at home in Texas How have they handled the tough situation? They are so far away and must be freaking out?
It’s been a tough situation for my family because that’s all the news talks about back home so it was stressful to get calls and text everyday about the situation but they are happy I’m coming home
This was your fifth season in the Ukraine and I’m sure you have formed some relationships there not only with your teammates, but also other people. Even though you want to get home, how tough is it still for you leaving and knowing your friends there have an unknown future?
It’s very tough because you care about the people you’ve built relationships with. And it’s a tough situation for them because this is their home and can’t just get up and leave like me so it’s definitely been tough to think about
Will you think differently when you decide to play again in Europe? Could this tough situation have an effect how you choose your jobs in the future?
Oh most definitely. Safety will be the first thing I look at when I sign my next contract.
Please leave some parting words on the Ukraine folk who are trying to get through this calamity?
I just want to wish all of Ukraine good health and safety as they go through this crazy time in life and hope everything goes back to normal soon.
Thanks Mike for the chat and get home safely.