ZS: What are the key differences between the style of basketball played in Amsterdam and the brand employed here in the United States? What was the biggest adjustment you had to make last year when adapting to these differences?
LS: It's way quicker here in the U.S. It's also more physical and I would say it's more of an individual game. In Europe, you have more team basketball. It's also way more athletic here. The level of athleticism involved in the game here is much better. You witness dunks more often here. In Amsterdam and in the European game in general, you really don't see too many dunks in a game. The 3-point line is also a bit closer here. The game in Europe is starting to get quicker, I feel. They are starting to catch up with the U.S. in that factor of the game.
ZS: Having a year of experience under your belt and being a post-graduate, what are some of the key expectations for you?
LS: I'll have to set the tone in practice and really keep a high intensity level because now I understand how hard we have to work to get things done. Having that experience and understanding the workload you have to put in everyday, it really helps. I'm going to have to help the younger players grow and step up. On the court, it's a bit of an adjustment as I played the four and the five a lot last year. This year, I'm probably going to play more on the wing. Now that I've evolved with the American game, hopefully I can become an impact player. The best part of my game is my shooting, so that's where I think I'll bring the most.
ZS: Which components of your game have you worked at and how have you continued to develop in embracing a more prominent role this season?
LS: Mainly, I just tried to get stronger. I was lifting more and preparing for this season. Because the game is more physical here, I've put on weight and gotten stronger. It has made me more versatile. Learning the four and the five last year and playing against bigger, stronger guys and needing to really box out hard. The guys at home in the Netherlands, they say that about me. They say I got tougher in the post. Before I would just let people walk over me. That's where the game has changed the most for me.
ZS: Your teammate, 6-foot-5 guard Jeroen Kales, also comes from the Netherlands. How would you describe your familiarity with his game and what do you envision as his contributions to this year's team?
LS: We actually played one year together on a club team in Amsterdam. I think he can come in and have an impact as another scoring option, he can really shoot the ball and stretch the floor out with deep threes. He brings a lot of experience. He played at 22 Feet Academy (S.C.) and then Lee Academy (M.E.) So, he knows the style of play here and he's got a good feel for it. I see him as being a knockdown shooter, but he can also attack the rim and do quite a lot. He's got a 4.0 GPA so he could potentially get some Ivy League offers.
ZS: What do you hope to accomplish, having an additional year to develop and taking advantage of it?
LS: Above everything, I want to improve on my game and help the team win. The key for me is finding a school which really fits me well. That's why I took this year to focus on my game and find the right fit, not just any school out there. The goal is to find a school that wants me and can use me to the best of my abilities.
ZS: With your sister, Isabella Slim, being a four-year starter at Syracuse and playing for the Netherlands national team, what's the family support like?
LS: It's great. Everything in the family has been about basketball since an early age. Every weekend, we would play. Seeing her play at Syracuse was a great experience for me. I saw how serious the basketball competition is in America and the attention surrounding the sport. Basketball is a lot bigger here. The mindset is so much different. In the Netherlands, there are not too many people who would pay to see basketball. It's different. So being able to see her play here out of the Netherlands has been special and motivational for me.