Is Xavi Pascual a wizard? Will know soon – Austin Hollins says

Is Xavi Pascual a wizard? Will know soon – Austin Hollins says

Zenit guard tells about St Petersburg success secret, compare it to Memphis under his dad Lionel Hollins coaching and assess chances of winning the United League and Euroleague.

Austin you are in Saint Petersburg for the second year. Do you like the city?
– Yes, this is beautiful city, I really enjoy living here despite the bad weather. I like walking in the city centre, sometimes visiting places like Kazan Cathedral and others.

– Let’s move on to basketball. For now this season is a miracle for Zenit. What’s the secret?
– I think it’s the trust. It is a necessary thin to achieve something. We trust the coach, trust each other. Everyone knows what to do and no one is acting selfish. Our practices are really intense, we challenge each other everyday, fight for real, it influences team’s results.

– Watching Zenit games it feels like you are not just the team but family. Is it true?
– It’s true. We play together for a long time, we understand each other. I think pandemic increased our team chemistry, as we were put on quarantine. Such things unite.


– As for Xavi Pascual, is he a wizard? It’s hard to explain how he is managing team’s basketball.
– Maybe, and I think, we’ll know soon.

– Question from Saint Petersburg. Can Zenit win VTB United League and Euroleague this season?
– I think, out team is talented enough to achieve it but I don’t think we must focus on these wins in the tournaments. We should move step by step, think about every next game, next practice. The success will come if we do right every day.
Obviously, we all love to compete and win, thus we believe we’ll manage to win. But it is not easy to win any of these important tournaments, everybody knows it, so we just work harder.

– This season is fantastic for Zenit but also it’s strange because of pandemic and empty arenas. Do you regret that such a successful season is happening during such time?
– No I don’t. Sure, you right, it’s tough to play without spectators but we got used to it. I think if you really love basketball you can play with empty arenas. Although, it’s obvious that fans bring an atmosphere that motivates the players.


– Have you heard of Russian or European players before moving to Europe? Except those who have played in the NBA, of course.
– I guess, none. Really, can’t remember anyone who haven’t play in the NBA.

– Anyway, you know so many players now! Who is the best player in the VTB United League right now on your position? You can name few including yourself.
–  It’s tough, I can’t name myself, don’t like to speak like that about myself. I go with Jordan Crawford from Loko, very talented player, can say the same about Darrun Hilliard from CSKA. I can name players all day long as there are strong players in each team on my position, otherwise they wouldn’t be playing in the United League. That’s the point of competition, everyone plays against strong players and tries to beat them.

– You started 2021 very good, getting into highlights tops and Team of the Weeks. Can you describe your role in the team? Are you one of Zenit leaders?
– We support each other and try to motivate each other. My role is to step on the court and dedicate, work hard. I must play hard on defense and score points. That’s my role, I guess, but it can be said about every player. Some shoot open shots better, some play better in post, some are lockdown defenders. It’s important to use our strengths.

– It’s probably an unexpected question but can you compare Zenit to Memphis that your dad Lionel Hollins has been heading. The defense, sense of unity, spirit, there are some similarities. Do you agree?
– I agree with the part about defense, it’s a cornerstone in both cases. But I would say we are better shooters, as Grizzlies were rushing the paint, they were called “grit and grind”. But as for spirit and unity, yes the similarities between the teams are evident.

– You were born in Arizona where had stayed till the age of 12, as you dad was assistant coach in Phoenix. Do you support the Suns now or is it a common team for you?
– I like Phoenix but I can’t call myself a fan. I was s Suns fan when I was young because my dad worked there. I support every team my father works for. `But I enjoy watching Phoenix games, especially Devin Booker. Now they have Chris Paul as well, the roster is very talented. Of course, there is a special place for Phoenix in my heart as I’ve been living there till the age of 12.

– Since the beginning of the previous season you dad has been Frank Vogel assisting coach in Lakers and has won NBA title with this team. How do you think, was Lakers’ championship coincident or logical?
– I say that it’s both. Yes, certain circumstances influence a lot but despite them you have to step on the court and prove that you are stronger. I am sure that Lakers were the best team of last season. I claim it was hard for them, pandemic, Kobe Bryant’s death and other circumstances, but they proved dominance.

– Who win NBA title this season? Back-to-back?
– Of course, who else. I will definitely support Lakers!