ZS: How has your development increased over the last few months, most notably getting stronger, finding a defender within yourself, and understanding the athleticism that the American is predicated on?
TF: Last summer, I worked a great deal on my physical skill-set. I knew the American game was very physical, much more physical than the style I was accustomed to playing in Europe. However, the preparation was not enough. The first two months at Conrad (FL) were hard because the game was quicker, stronger, and everybody could play defense and jump.
Coach Brad (Traina) taught me how to be stronger and how to play with the strength. Before my season at TCA, I wasn’t a good defender. Being in the weight room constantly helped me a lot for that. Some of my teammates told me how to think when you play in America. You have to keep it in your mind that nobody can beat you. It’s a mental toughness thing. So, that and Coach Brad’s teaching me how to get stronger and use it on the court enabled me to become a better defender.
ZS: Midway through the season, TCA needed to make adjustments. You and (Texas State-signee) Quentin Scott were tasked with bigger roles each took on bigger roles. It required you to score the ball a lot more. How did you take it upon yourself to become an inside-outside scoring threat?
TF: When I came here it was hard for me to score a lot. I observed how the program’s top players scored and scored in bunches. At the same time I worked hard at becoming more of an all-around scorer. Luguentz (Dort) of the prep team gave me advice on how to be a better scorer. I spent a lot of time in the gym, unseen hours and late-night work, putting in the effort. After that, I could score inside or outside.
ZS: How would you describe your role on the court and chemistry with Quentin Scott? How do you describe the steady improvement of Milan Stakic?
TF: I think my role was to put my versatile game within the team. My teammates were good in 1 v.s. 1 action, when they beat their defender it was easier to knock down a shot because they would find me wide open.
Playing with my boy Quentin was great for me because we connected on the court and off it. At practice we were always against each other and guarding each other. It was useful because he knew my game and I knew his game. We fed off each other and he always gave me advice. Then, on game day we knew how to play together. I want the best for all my guys who are headed to Division-1. Cam (Corcoran), Que, Milan.
Milan Stakic has been a real improvement this season. He was just a 7-footer when he came here. He lost around 40 pounds and worked hard and now he is able to shoot from deep, and dunk everything. Moreover he has a lot of moves in his bag. I'm really proud of him and I hope is going to be more dangerous in college. I hope is going go to go to the NBA or at least be in one of the top leagues in Europe. My goal of course is to do the same.