Alex Renfroe is the guest for BCL Podcast #13

BCL Podcast has a two-time champion over for its thirteenth episode. Alex Renfroe of San Pablo Burgos joined Kemal Rutkay Özcan for a detailed conversation.

Final Eight and the championship at the end, the feeling of repeat, turning points of the season, Alex Renfroe and his uniquely different career path, his experience at Galatasaray, and ACB Playoffs were mainly discussed.

You can listen to the podcast with Alex Renfroe on SoundCloud and Spotify. Here are the highlights of the conversation:

Team’s schedule since the 2021 BCL Final

“By the time we finished and came back home, I was exhausted, 10 out of 10. From the games, from the travels, from being away from my family… All of that, man. I was ready to just lay it down and relax for as long as I could. Because my body needed it.

Our coach did a great job. He got us some days off. I think we got 3 or 4 days off, which we all needed. It was much appreciated. I have been away from my family for a week, and I’m playing. So, I feel it all on my body and mind. My wife is at home with my two monsters running around crazy for seven days. She needed a break as well. Also, my kids needed a break. They stuck inside for a little while; they can only walk. Because I was gone, they didn’t wanna drive anywhere. It was good for them also.”

The feeling of repeat

“It’s hard to describe, man. The first time we got it at the beginning of the season, we knew we had to put together three great games. After we did that, when you say you’re going to repeat, it’s not just three games. Now we have a total of 15 games where we have to treat like those three before. To do that for five times as many games is very tough to keep the focus. To stay focused for such a long time is grueling. It’s really blood, sweat, and tears.

When you finally get to the point where you have accomplished what you set out to do at the beginning, it’s a huge weight off of your back. You’ve been carrying this extra weight for months. To shed that weight is a huge relief. It’s a crazy feeling to be able to do it once but to do it twice, it’s an amazing feeling.”

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Burgos’ road to the championship without three-pointers

“Going into Final Eight, we had a rough April. Our schedule was packed. We had to make up a lot of games because we got hit by the second wave of COVID. I was coming off an MCL tear; I had missed six weeks. Our whole month of April was just ridiculous. We’re traveling; we play games every other day; we had half of our team missing because of COVID; we’re playing in both ACB and BCL. We were just trying to survive.

We were struggling but we didn’t really have the tools. When we got to May, we knew we can put three fights, three nasty games together. All we gotta do was to come in here, get three games, and all of April’s struggles will be thrown out the window.

When we got to the Final Eight, April really helped us. It looked like a curse, but we were playing every other day, and we have been prepared for [the F8 schedule]. What looked like a curse really became our savor. We struggled from three, and that was something we’ve been riding all season. We didn’t have our rhythm, our legs weren’t where they were before, but we found a way to compensate for that with some other stuff.”

Turning point(s) of the BCL season

“When we got to the Playoffs, we felt like we might not make it this year, or we might. It’s gonna be a close call. We had that first game against VEF [at home], and we won by 1. I think if we lost that game, we would’ve been in serious trouble. I think that game saved us. I don’t know how we managed to go to [Riga], right in the middle of COVID, and be able to grind out a win like that. I have no idea how that happened.

I think the real turning point for us in the Final Eight was the first round. We were down 13. And we came; we got that run going to start the second half. That was our turning point. I said, ‘OK, we’re gonna get it rolling.'”

Alex Renfroe on working under Joan Penarroya

“He’s definitely the main reason I’m in Burgos, no question about it. I love playing for him. This is my second stint with Coach, and I feel great behind him. He gives me confidence. I know that he supports me, and he knows I’m gonna try to make the best play for the team. He puts teams together with great, and he allows us to do our strengths. And our strengths line up like puzzle pieces to complete one big puzzle.”

ACB Playoffs and a potential first-round matchup

“I think we can already say that. Right now, we’re sitting at the sixth in the league. The organization has been around for five years. We have three trophies; we qualified for Copa del Rey. We’re at sixth place after we had the month like April – we were 2-6 in April, ACB only. We could’ve been fourth if we didn’t have so many hiccups, but we are what we are.

If the league ended today, everybody would say we’re a successful team. Are we satisfied with that? No. We’re competitive. We all want to compete and show we’re better than where we are, to show April was a fluke. We’re getting ready for the playoffs; we’re ready to fight. I don’t know who we’re gonna get, but they’d better be prepared for the fight.

I wouldn’t say [matching up with Tenerife] is an advantage. They punched us out more times than we punched them out. ACB is such a competitive league, you never know what’s going to happen. I know we’re going into the games thinking we’d win the games.”

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Alex Renfroe ‘s experience at Galatasaray and in Istanbul

“I enjoyed it. My family enjoyed being there. A lot of families there we enjoyed being around. We just couldn’t get it together in basketball, man. Early on, you could see that this was not gonna work the way I hoped for it to work out. Sometimes it happens. I wished it would’ve been better. The situation of living in Istanbul, how our buildings were set up, the complex we lived in, things we could do… My family loved it.”

Alex Renfroe on why he hasn’t played for a team for more than one full season

“There are a lot of reasons. I’ll say this first and foremost: Places I wanted to stay, they didn’t wanna keep me; places that wanted to keep me, I didn’t wanna stay. From day 1, I always wanted to sign 1-year deals. And I tell you the reason why.

The reason for me was that I believed I was going to get better every year. That was my goal. If I get better, I wanna bet on myself; I don’t wanna be locked into something. I would rather be rewarded for what I did last year. That’s good; if it’s bad, then these are my consequences.

Second, I kinda felt like me being with my family, their happiness, and mental health was important. I’ve been in a few places where I was like, “Oh, if I didn’t do this, I would never have come here.” or “I would never come back here.” It doesn’t matter what they offer. I wouldn’t name them, but if you know me, you know those places. And there are some places I would have loved to go back to, but it didn’t work out. I always felt like that for me to be somewhere, I need to get there, and see how it works out. If it works out, cool. I won’t have a problem re-signing. But I need to make sure that my family is gonna be happy, and I’m happy.

I signed one two-year deal before this one. It was against what I had been saying. I signed a two-year deal with Bayern Munich. I can say it didn’t work out, but it did work out. After I left Bayern, I signed with Barcelona; I don’t know how. Credit to my agent. I can be honest. I came [to Bayern] for my second year and I wasn’t in the plan. I’m not complaining about it; it’s what it is. That is the reason I like signing one-year deals. I don’t want to show up next year, and somebody to say I’m not in the plan. I wish you had told me two months ago.”

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