After arriving on the Rock this summer from FC Barcelona, the French international point guard spoke to Monaco Tribune ahead of the start of the season.
Brought in to replace Dee Bost in the starting line-up, Léo Westermann (29) has joined the Roca Team with the ambition to excel collectively, as AS Monaco Basket prepares to compete in the Euroleague for the first time in its history. Interview.
Why did you choose to join the Roca Team?
For the challenge, which is huge! I’m happy to join a team that is rising through the ranks at a rapid pace and has a certain status after winning the Eurocup. It’s a team that also has more to prove after the great season it has just had.
After two seasons at Fenerbahçe and one at FC Barcelona, was it the presence of AS Monaco Basket in the Euroleague that motivated your choice?
Yes and no. Of course, I wanted to keep participating in European competitions. But after two complicated years for me, I especially wanted to have new responsibilities, in a club where I feel wanted. The call from Zvevdan Mitrović was influential in my decision. The fact that the club and the staff are interested in me gives me confidence. I came with the aim of finding stability, in an attractive club. I have heard nothing but good things about the Roca Team, whether from the club’s employees, staff or players.
Everyone is already very committed, which is great.
How did your integration into the team go?
It’s still a bit early to make a first assessment. But my first impressions are good. Everyone is already very committed, which is good. The whole team is motivated. The chemistry will develop along the way, when all the players are here. But the desire and the enthusiasm are there.
The training in Italy isn’t too difficult?
(Smiles) That’s what it’s for! We are cut off from the world, in our own bubble, we draw on our resources. The medical staff is very efficient. We recover well after training. It’s a good sign for the future.
Zvevdan Mitrović? A coach who manages to get the best out of his players.
A word on the coach, Zvezdan Mitrović?
He’s a coach I’ve known for a long time. After my time at CSKA Moscow, I had the chance to train at ASVEL whilst waiting to find a club. Zvezdan was there at that time. I was able to discover his methods. He’s a coach who always manages to get the best out of his players and his teams. I was excited to play for him.
What are Roca Team’s ambitions this season?
We know we are anticipated in the championship. The objective is clear, we want to play a leading role and compete for the title of French champion. In the Euroleague, it’s different. We are relative outsiders of the competition. We will have less pressure than some other teams. We expect to suffer, but we’ll give our utmost to excel in this competition. We want to show that AS Monaco Basket can play well in the most prestigious European competitions.
The French team, are you thinking about it?
Honestly, not really. I’m trying to focus on my club. If it happens, all the better. If not, you can be sure that I’ll always be the biggest supporter of the Blues!