Jaylen Barford’s big interview to

Our media partner issued a very interesting long read – the interview with Jaylen Barford who recently had played his 100th game for Loko.
– You're from Tennessee?
– Yes.
– How it's like in Tennessee?
– The way I can describe Tennessee it's probably more like Krasnodar. Sunny good weather, pretty seasonal, can get cold but not so cold. Good country life, good food. It's nice place to stay at sometimes.
– How did you get into basketball?
– My mom gave me probably like a little amateur goal, a little kid goal – just start playing the sport. I played a lot of sports, a little baseball, but more so American football and basketball. I played both sports up into high school. But when I had to choose just one, I chose basketball. I like to be indoors also, because you know football gets pretty cold sometimes.
– You have played in some exotic places like Egypt for example. How was it playing in Egyptian league?
– It was different you know. I was probably the only American on the team, maybe another one. Different type of setup on the league, not so much as a like the VTB league, there was kind of like a game probably every other day. The weather is always nice, the sun always out. Great experience to be there. I was on there for like two months so it was cool though.
– From Egypt you moved to Kazakhstan. What did you know about Kazakhstan before moving there?
– The only thing I knew was from a TV show.
– "Borat"?
– "Blacklist". There's a guy called Raymond Reddington travels all across the world. So that's how I knew about that place. But once I got there, it was pretty interesting. You know it was good at first, and then it started snowing and got real cold.
– You had a very impressive start in Astana. What were your first thoughts of the level of the VTB United League?
– I knew a couple of people that played there the year before. And just I knew it's a competitive league. At the time it was a lot of Euroleague teams, Eurocup and Champions League teams. So, it's a pretty good league. A lot of high-level players, high-level teams, great competition every night, so it's pretty good.
– How long did you think over the invitation from Loko?
– Oh, it didn't take that much of a time. I was actually at home at the time from Astana because they had a war. So, I went home, and Loko called me. And I signed the contract in like two days or so. It was a great opportunity for me and I'm very grateful that they took that chance on me at the time.
– What were your first impressions of the Krasnodar club?
– Really family-oriented, you know. You see everybody with the kids around here, it seemed like everybody kind of cousins and uncles and brothers and sisters around. So, it's pretty cool. It's been not too much pressure on the team, it's pretty calm. So, it's always a good vibe especially when the Sun is out and we winning, so it's always good.
– What do you usually do when you have free time in Krasnodar?
– Just chill, watch Netflix shows, sleep, maybe walk around a little bit, sometimes listen to music.
– Do you have some favourite places in the city?
– I like Jimmy Choo, Macaroni a some other restaurants. And I've been to a soccer game, is a good place to go, beautiful stadium.
– During summer you train kids, do you?
– Oh, yes. I have my own AAU program travel basketball, so we go to different cities, states and play different teams across the country. It's pretty good thing that you get a chance to be recruited by a high level college teams and just to have a good experience within the summer with your teammates, you know, enjoy different people from different cities and different areas.
– What age are these kids?
– Eleven, no 12 years old. That'd be 7th grade.
– You do it in your home city?
– No, it's Arkansas, so it's based out of there, but I have kids from different areas around.
– How important was it when Loko saved most of the players from the previous season?
– It's pretty important, you know. You don't see too much of that in Europe, but that's well. You know who had a chance to win last year and I think if you got great chances bringing everybody back you'll have a great chance of winning again. So we want to probably add a few good pieces – but great pieces – to our team, great players and great people outside the court as well. So, it wasn't too much hard of adjustment but we'll be all right. I think we got a good team getting ready for the playoffs so it'd be good.
– What can you say about the recent newcomers to Loko?
– Patrick Miller is a pretty good point guard. I knew him before he got here, we played together a few times in the summer. He's pretty athletic, kind of stocky, can post up a little bit, make plays for everybody. Maurice Ndour can switch one through five, athletic post, his great energy does a lot of things for us. Karvel Anderson is a great shooter. I actually guard him a couple times when he played Astana so he's a tough cover because he has quick release, got a good pump fake, he's pretty fundamental. Okaro White made a good comparison. He said that Karvel is much like Wayne Ellerton, an ex-NBA player. So, I think he will help us well.
– There is a lot of young players in Loko. What can you say about their level?
– They are been doing good. A lot of improvement from a lot of them. They've been getting a lot of big minutes this year so they really improved a lot, especially Martyuk with his toughness. Just being more aggressive on offensive rebounds and defending better. Also Yemchenko. He's making plays after switching this position: beginning a year as a wing then going to a point guard. It's a pretty hard transition but he doing good. And you can't forget about Temirov. Temirov been doing good for us too, I think he's our biggest X back on the team. He plays well, we do pretty good as a team.
– At the first stage of the current championship Loko won five times against top four teams. But then, in Top 6, things were not so good. What do you think is the reason for that?
– I think we lost a little bit of rhythm, got too comfortable maybe. But in those games we lost, we were in the game but made a lot of mistakes down the stretch. So, we paid for it, of course. But I think we learn from those mistakes and figure out how to make this championship push.
– Do you have some rivalries in the VTB United League?
– Personally not, really. As a team, maybe I would say the top four teams always is the toughest games. I mean I feel like we got the target on our back. I don't know why but I feel like we might be their rivalry.
– A lot of fans in Krasnodar personally adore you. How do you feel about that?
– You know like I said it's my second home. I've been in Krasnodar the longest throughout my career, half of my career. So, it's been good. The fans treat me well and I love the fans. I think I probably am one of the fan favorite, so I embrace that and they embrace me and my family. So, it's good, it's always good.
– How does your girl feel in Krasnodar?
– Oh, amazing and safe. I got a house not too far, so it's pretty homey. Everyone love her as well, so it's pretty good in here.
– Your son is raising here, how's he?
– He got a fun with the fans. I'm pretty sure he's in a million pictures around. So, they love him and that's good.
– What do you tell your friends about Russia when ask you?
– Russia's cool, it's not as bad like the news say it is. Good food, especially where I live at. I think it's all right in Moscow and St. Petersburg also.
– Since Krasnodar airport is closed, so Loko's travels always last longer. How do you cope with that logistics?
– Just chill, relax my mind, maybe go see our physiotherapist Alexei and get some breathing done, get a massage or something and I'll be all right.
– You haven't played NBA. Do you have thoughts of going there?
– Right now not so much. I really control what's going on right now. So, I don't think too much about the future. I just worry about the present.
– You often make decisive shots in clutches. What do you think at these moments?
– None really. Just staying positive. I think every side of the good side. If I can see the room and get the shot off I think it's gonna be a good shot or it's gonna go in. So, I don't ever regret taking shots at the end.
– What will be the most important thing for Loko to do to become champions?
– Just play together, stay together and just play hard and worry about the next play.
– What's your most memorable game in Russia?
– I would probably say it has to be game seven against CSKA last season. It was probably our best game as the team. We came out together, everybody made a step up, we make big plays and sent CSKA home.
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