Lahti Basketballin mediatiimi soitti videopuhelun Yhdysvaltojen Houstoniin, jossa kesällä majaansa pitää Lahti Basketballin vahvistus, Wayne McCullough. Haastattelussa Wayne kertoo itsestään ja urastaan, jonka seuraava pysäkki on Lahti Basketball.

How has your summer been so far?

It has been kind of a different summer. My family and I started in Denver, Colorado, where my wife’s family lives, after returning from Canada. Gyms were shut down for awhile and everyone was at home. I shot around in the driveway and went on walks daily to stay active. Then we travelled to Houston, Texas, where I am from. We always split time between both families during the summer. Also, we came to Texas for me to practice and workout because the basketball talent is better in Houston and gyms were open. So, when the gyms started to open back up it has been became a busy summer and enjoying time with my family and my wife’s family. 

What about Coronavirus, how has it affected your life?

Coronavirus has definitely changed my pace of life. I am always on the go and looking to get into the gym. It helped me slow down and spend more time with my son and all my family. It has helped me to be a better father, husband, son, brother, and friend. Now that gyms and the economy is starting to open back up most of my life is getting back to normal. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

God, family, basketball. Those are the three things that matter most to me, in that order. My faith is a huge part of who I am and how I was raised. I was born in the northwest part of Houston on June 22,1994. That is the night the Rockets won the world championship and my dad always joked I was born to play basketball. I actually thought I was going to play baseball in college, but ended up going to Colorado to play basketball. I ended up meeting my wife there and we dated all through college. I now have been married four years and we have an eight month old baby boy named, Wyatt. My life has drastically changed, for the better, and they are my world. As far as basketball I am a blue collar player that leaves it out there every game. I never know when my last game could be and want to play every one like it’s my last. Always have a chip on my shoulder and love to compete. 

Who is your idol? 

My dad. I don’t even think he knows that, but he has done more then he knows for me and has always shown me how to be a man. Can never do or say enough to thank him. 

Tell us a little bit about your career so far?

I started at a small private high school and did not receive any scholarship offers until after my senior year. I ended up going to a small D2 college in Denver, Colorado. After having a good career there I didn’t think I would have a professional career, but ended up getting my first job in Canada. After getting cut 2 times in Canada it only motivated me to go harder. I ended up going to a Phoenix Suns G League tryout and made the training camp roster. While in training camp I lead us in scoring against the Lakers affiliate team, but it didn’t work out. After leaving Phoenix I went back to Canada and we won the NBL Canada championship. Next season resigned and was having my best season yet before COVID-19 hit. I say all of that to show that I’ve been at the bottom and at the top and it has all made me stronger. 

How did you hear about Lahti Basketball? 

I heard about Lahti through my agent. After signing I found out a few of my friends have played in Finland and one in Lahti. I have only heard good things and can’t wait to get there. 

You signed with Lahti quite early. Why did you choose Lahti Basketball?

After this season had ended I knew I had a decision to make. To try and go back to the G League or go to Europe. When my agent came to me with this offer I talked to my wife and we decided to try Europe and get to the highest level. Korisliiga is a great league and I thought that Lahti would give me the best chance to prosper. I heard there was a great fan base and the support for the team was amazing. It felt like a great fit for my family and me. 

What kind of player is Lahti Basketball getting by signing you? 

Lahti is getting a competitor and a winner. I am a motivated player that has a huge chip on his shoulder to prove the world how great he can be. A player that plays as hard as he can and hates to lose more then he loves to win.

If you have to name one player who is your game reminding of, who would that be?

 I dont know if there is one player my game imitates. Maybe Chris Middleton as a bigger guard, but only similarities. I watch a lot of Jrue Holiday, CJ McCollum, and Devin Booker. Love how they play the game of basketball. And love how Jrue is the best two-way guard in the league. 

Let’s talk about Canadien basketball. How is the league/s over there? 

The NBLC is under rated in my opinion. Before going to Canada I always heard it is not respected by European teams and is a lower level of basketball, but it was my only option to play professionally. While I haven’t played in Europe I have played against very high level players and there are very high level players in the NBLC. It is very Americanized that plays at a fast pace. A lot of one on one and having to guard your own. I am very thankful for that league because it is where I was able to grow as a person and player. Without that league I wouldn’t be coming to Lahti. I am a champion because of that league. 

Your Lahti Basketball teammate Alex Campbell and you had some great battles against each other in Canada. How would you describe Alex as a player?

 Alex Cambell is a great player on both sides of the basketball. He is a tough guard that loves to compete and always finds a way to put his team in a winning position. I’ve seen him play hurt and banged up and still competes. He was his teams best offensive threat, and I mostly guarded the other teams best player. So, every time we played I was assigned to guard him and it was always a battle. I always have fun guarding him because of the challenge. Seeing Alex sign was a big part of me signing. I was excited to play with him because I know what he can do on both sides of the ball and I know he plays the game the right way.

Your all time starting 5? 

T-Mac, Jordan, Lebron, Kobe and Kareem

Do you know anything about your new hometown Lahti?

 I have had a few people reach out to me and tell me a little about the city. I was told there isn’t much daylight during the season. I have heard it is beautiful. I’ve heard it is an industrial city with hard working people who love their basketball team. 

Greetings to Lahti Basketball fans?

Lahti fans, my family and I are very excited to get to Lahti and get to know y’all. I am going to play as hard as I can for y’all and hopefully bring a championship to the city. Looking forward to getting on the court and making y’all proud! 

Thank you, Wayne and see you soon!

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Kuva: Sellekhanks