NBA : Will Cliburn: “My goal is to win and see my jersey taken out of circulation one day.”


Adonis Stroggilakis /

MVP of the Final Four, Euroleague champion, member of the first symbolic Euroleague team and widely recognized as one of the most versatile and elite players on the continent. CSKA star striker Will Clyburn has achieved a lot by his 30s, but he also has unconquered peaks for him.

One of the main challenges, he says, is to keep winning, to ultimately see the club retire the jersey with his name when all is said and done.

“If I can finish my career here, win more titles, then I think my ‘dream’ will be for my jersey to be immortalized. I think this is my next goal. This is what I am currently striving for: Winning and getting the shirt out of circulation, ”Cliburn told Eurohoops in a live interview.

Cliburn is back in great shape after a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. In just his third game in 2020-2021, he delivered an excellent performance, leading his team to victory over Fenerbahce. His player, he loudly announced that the serious injury he received was left behind.

Now, over 11 games in the current Euroleague regular season, Clyburn is averaging career-high 15.9 points and 4.4 rebounds.

“Obviously, dealing with such an injury is always difficult. You start to doubt and think: “Will I be the same again.” Other people think, “Can he play as before?” The only thing you can do is work. Basically that’s what I did, ”Cliburn said. “Here in Russia and at home I had excellent staff. Each played a part in getting me back the way I was. And I think this is the biggest problem with this kind of trauma: finding a way to adapt to everything. When this happens, then it’s like cycling. And I don’t think anyone can forget how to ride a bike. “

The meeting with Barcelona in the first round of the Euroleague for Will was a “wake-up call” that forced him to further strengthen his attempts to regain his previous form.

“I want to say that for me the most important thing, the biggest alarm after my return, was the first game against Barcelona. Obviously, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not have the opportunity to face off against talented and powerful teams like Barcelona in the preseason. That meeting was like a wake-up call. After such a long absence, I said: “Ok, this is how they play in the Euroleague.” My body ached, I was one step slower. But we all knew that it would be difficult for me to immediately return in good shape. That I will need some adaptation period. “

“I’ve never had anything like it. Everything played a role in this game, ”added Cliburn.

In a conversation during the last Eurohoops Live Show, Clyburn commented on his team’s six-match winning streak, the chemistry that is slowly beginning to take shape, the summer signings of Tornike Shengelia and Nikola Milutinov, the pressure he likes at CSKA and more.

Here’s what Cliburn said:

Last Army win and Mike James’ four-pointer:

“Everyone took part in this drawing. If Nico [Милутинов] we would not have gotten the opportunity for that throw at all, we would never have gotten such a hint. Dani’s [Хэкетта] I was cool enough to give me the ball right away, but I knew that in the position I was in, I didn’t have the opportunity to make a good shot. Mike walked to meet me, he was open, and everyone knows that he wants to take these shots, he wants to be this guy. There is no better person to take on the winning shot at the end of matches. “

The Euroleague captains have chosen him as the hungrier player in the new season:

“Maybe because I haven’t played since October 25th. This is a rather long period of inactivity. I was so eager to get back to the set. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, I joked with the guys on the team that I would be in time for the Final Four if we made it there. I really wanted to be there with the team. This is what drove me throughout the summer. I’m trying to get back to normal. Try to rejoin the team and help it in every way. “

Getting hurt like this after the best season of my career … it was very annoying. Purely because of this. But, in principle, I agree with the opinion of the captains. “