A reinforcement for the white strategy, another step in the right direction for the Laso team. Dontaye Draper, who has spent the last two seasons in Croatia,arrives at the Endesa League, the most demanding competition in the Old Continent, and does so in the hands of Real Madrid.This Baltimore player is not short on qualities and is noted for his ability to arrive at the point of action, rapid transitions and excellent reading of the game. He himself admits that adapts to systems that coaches impose on him. Something that in Madrid he will be happy to do because he loves the rhythm and character that Laso has imprinted on the team. His intentions are clear: "I come to contribute to the team".
Dontaye Draper, a further reinforcement for Real Madrid ; the team´s third base together with Sergio Llull and Sergio Rodriguez ... I suppose you will want to start this new challenge. After passing through Australia, Belgium, Italy, France and Croatia, you have joined the most important team in the European basketball scene...
I´m thrilled -I´ve signed for what surely is the greatest team in Europe. I really want to get down to work and start to train.
You've been a basketball globetrotter, but your consecration came in Croatia in the first season when you got to be the MVP of the Eurocup ...
Yes. I had the full confidence of the coach.He really liked how I played and gave me the green light to play as I wanted, as he said that I brought out the best in my fellow players. With that confidence I played for my team-mates.
Your actions caused the Croatian national team call at your door, even going on to defend the Croatian shirt in the European match against Lithuania.
It was fantastic. I have to thank them for the trust placed in me given that it is a country with very talented players and it was a compliment that I was chosen to play with them.
You did not get to take on Spain but with Croatia you made a huge impression notching up 35 assists in five games.
It was a big challenge for me. It was not easy being a foreigner, but I had the great help of some excellent companions who facilitated the process of adaptation for me.
You've played in several European leagues, but this will be your first experience in the Endesa League, a league considered by everybody to be the best after the NBA.
It will be a challenge, but I love challenges. I have to take it quietly and go step by step. I have to listen closely to the instructions of my coach and my teammates. I know there will be good and less good times but I know I can count on the support of all and I'm looking forward to this challenge.
You have already faced Spanish teams. Against Gran Canaria you scored 11 assists and also played against Asefa Estudiantes
I played good games against both of them. During both matches, I paid attention to how they played and I really like their philosophy of basketball. A lot of pick and roll, a fast basketball with the pressure kept up. I like to play that way and I was happy with my performances against those two teams.
Last season the team coached by Pablo Laso won the Copa del Rey, a major achievement for the second youngest lineup of the ACB. The basketball that you play will come in handy. Rapid transition between defence-attack and the importance of the defensive rebound to get out on the counterattack ...
I love it. Unlike my first season in Croatia, last year I could not play that way. The philosophy that Laso has is how I like to play basketball. I love playing a basketball of back and forth and pick and roll.
Several Real Madrid players shone in the Olympics. I do not know if you've had the opportunity to see a game, but four players from Real Madrid took the silver medal.
I saw almost every game that Spain played. They played at a very good level. Players like Sergio Llull, who is a huge athlete, are difficult to beat. They are amongst the best and I am looking forward to being part of this team.
What are your personal goals for this season apart from, as you were saying before, learning Spanish?
I want to be one of the gang and get on very well with my teammates and coach. A good relationship outside is transmitted to the court. I want to feel comfortable, because that is when I play the best basketball.
Real Madrid has a major following in the city but also throughout the world. For those fans who still have not seen you play, how would you define yourself as a player?
I am a player who gets involved.I defend and attack, and I consider myself a complete player and one who likes to make my teammates better.I do not worry about scoring from the get-go, if I make the team play well the points will come.
You have won the hearts of all the suppoters where you played, starting with the Sydney Kings in Australia and recently a following as demanding as that of the Croatian national team. What would be your message to the new supporters?
I'm not a troublemaker. My biggest concern is always the team. After my process of adaptation what I can do on the court will be seen. I've adapted and I felt at home in every city where I have been and in turn that shows on the court.