Today The Can Ball Report steals a few minutes with current pro and Senior Men's National Team veteran Carl English ...
During the first phase of the Canadian Senior Men's Team at Ryerson University in Toronto, The Can Ball Report was granted access to the week long workouts before they embarked on their European training tour. Can Ball Ray was able to catch up with a few members of the Senior Program and those interviews will be posted here throughout the coming days as we head closer to the second training phase and later the FIBA Americas Championships in Argentina.
Today we have Senior Men's National Team member Carl English on the horn. After having a very good start to his last pro season in Spain, he got injured cutting his year short. But he's back now and ready to contribute. Carl talks about his season, his injury and what he expects from himself this summer and the Senior Men look to tune up before the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina later this summer.
Can Ball Ray: So Carl you spent the 2010-11 season in Europe playing in the ACB League in Spain. How was that this time around?
Carl English: Things were going very well. I was on Joventut, we were living in Barcelona and which was an absolutely beautiful city. I was there with my wife and two kids and everything was going pretty well. Basketball was going amazing then I hurt my wrist. But prior to that I was MVP of the month and I had a really good stretch and our team was in fifth place, we were a surprise to everybody so things were going pretty well until I hurt my wrist. (No lie. Carl was averaging 15 points in 29 minutes while shooting 48% from the three in 17 games before going down to injury.)
Can Ball Ray: So how is the wrist now?
Carl English: It’s good. Everything’s better. I had surgery on it January 26th I believe and everything’s back to normal. (I’m) just getting it strengthened and getting used to training at a high level again.
Can Ball Ray: Well that’s good to hear. Now after the surgery, were you able to come back for any part of the remainder of the season?
Carl English: No, no (my season) was shut down. It was four months of rest and rehabilitation. I had a cast on me for six weeks (and at that point) things turned worse for our team. (We) were fifth place and then I think they went 3-17 after that so they didn’t finish so well (the team finished 14-20 on the year, ed.). So it was very tough to watch and not be there to help them but at the same point you can’t control (anything then). I actually played six games with (the injury first) and then I just couldn’t deal with (the pain) anymore. They actually found out what was wrong right at the last second (but when they found out) we right into surgery three days later.
Can Ball Ray: Coming off injury last summer and then coming off an injury from this past season, how do you prepare physically and mentally for this camp this time around?
Carl English: Physically, I’ve been training hard prior (to this camp) so physically I feel good. Mentally, I’ve always been strong so I feel I bring something to the table. The year we won the qualifier for the Worlds, it’s not always about scoring the most. You have to be there as a leader and you got to make sure your team gets the best shot (at winning). At that level of competition, you can’t make mistakes and you got to make sure you get a good shot every time and I feel I can control the pace and just help them understand that you can’t have lapses. (If) you have lapses against an Argentina or a Brazil you’re down 20. So that’ll be my role, to come in with the experience and things and I can still play at a high level. You just bring that leadership into the camp and into the summer is a key (for me) to bring in to this team.
Can Ball Ray: Now going into the tune ups and qualifiers, how do you get ready for those games in particular?
Carl English: You have to understand it’s a long tournament. When we get to Argentina we’re probably looking at 10 games in eleven days. (The last time I played) we also had ten games in eleven days so it will be a very similar situation. So physically, you have to eat right, you have to take care of your body and you have prepare right so we have to train the right way now so that we’re ready when that time comes. And not only that, it’s a mental battle. If you go out and lose, you can’t really dwell on it. You have to learn from your mistakes and you got to be ready the next day and really be ready the next to really go out and have that energy and really shine because if you make a couple of mistakes in a tournament like that you could easily be done. So the thing is that everyone that’s involved, they have to understand that their role is going to be very crucial and you need ten, twelve players when you’re playing ten games in eleven days.
Can Ball Ray: Now since you’ve been with the National Program several summers, what do you think your role on this Senior Men’s team will be this time around?
Carl English: Like I said, I will bring that scoring aspect but I think I’ll bring that experience. With time your understand how to play the game, especially (playing) in Europe (professionally). The thing with a tournament like that, I mean, it’s easy to go score 20 but if you score ten or fifteen but you help other guys score ten or fifteen everybody going to have confidence and you’re going to need eight to ten players with confidence to win. So it’s a huge team tournament so it’s not about yourself it’s more about what you can do to make your team happy and help those guys be happy to give them confidence on the court.
Can Ball Ray: Last summer might have been tough since you had to watch everyone from the bench. How much does that play into you coming back this summer?
Carl English: It’s tough because for me, realistically, I have two small kids so when I sacrifice my summer I want to make sure it’s worth my time. Right now, I sacrifice a whole year and it’s a very demanding schedule when you’re with a pro team in Europe (because) you’re training twice a day and then your games. So my summer time is my family time. So if I’m going to come in here and I’ve told the guys that if we’re going to go at it we have to do it the right way so when we come into (training camp) we have to give it our all. And from watching from last summer you just feel so helpless because you played so good the year before and then you struggle in the World Championships when you get there. It’s not just enough to arrive; you have to win when you get there. So we came back, Jesse (Young) is back and some more guys will be in so we just got to do the right thing so we can have success. If you’re going to sacrifice your time we might as well make it worth it.
Can Ball Ray: Thanks as always for your time Carl and good luck in Europe.
Be sure to follow the results of the Senior Men's trip at www.basketball.ca or on Twitter @CanBBall and of course right here in The Can Ball Report. And stay tuned for more interiews with our National Team right here over the coming weeks. Oh yeah, how could I forget. You can also follow Carl's European exploits at the Carl English Fan Club. The Spanish version may be a bit more indepth but you would need to know how to read in Espanol.