April 12, 2012
Wrapping up his second and final season at Wake Forest after transferring from Georgetown, senior forward Nikita Mescheriakov started all 31 games this past season and averaged 8.0 points and 3.9 rebounds. WakeForestSports.com's Maggie Cancelosi sat down with Nikita to talk about his favorite moments with the Deacons, plans for after graduation and his admiration for Dirk Nowitzki.
Q: Would you rather size up your competition by checking stats or watching their game film?
A: Definitely watch game film to look at what kind of moves the players do--you can learn a lot by watching.
Q: If you could run practice for the day, what drill would you pick and why?
A: We need to improve on defense, and that is something that we concentrated on.
Q: Who are your favorite ACC and out-of-conference teams to play?
A: It's always really exciting to play against big names like Duke and North Carolina. Out of conference, I would have loved to play teams like Kentucky or Syracuse. When I went to Georgetown, we played against Syracuse.
Q: Looking back on your time at Wake Forest, which games stick out to you as the most memorable?
A: I will remember Senior Night. I thought that I had a good game, and we made a good comeback. I wish that we could have pulled it off, but unfortunately that didn't happen.
Q: As a senior, did you put additional pressure on yourself to be a leader for a relatively young team?
A: I felt like there was more responsibility, because I knew that I was a senior and had to perform. Some nights, let's be honest, I didn't play that well, but I always tried to go out there, try my best, and be a leader and a hard-working guy.
Q: Who are your favorite professional players or teams to watch?
Q: Do you have a smart phone, and if so, what's one "App" that you couldn't live without?
A: Dirk Nowitzki--I just love his game. I like Dallas a lot, but I'm not sure what's going on with Dallas right now (chuckles to himself). I can really relate to Dirk. I also really like the way my brother [Yegor] plays. He played at George Washington University as well as overseas. I always enjoyed watching him.
A: Honestly, I'm not a big "app" guy, but I would have to say Facebook--everyone spends so much time on it and you always check out what's new and what everyone else is up to.
Q: Do you have enough patience to teach people how to play basketball?
A: Yes, actually I really like working with little kids. We've had summer camps that I've helped out at, and it's just fun to teach the kids different moves.
Q: Would you ever consider walking into pick-up games around campus?
A: Oh, easily. I do it all the time, usually with my friends when we want to go outside, get some sun and play pick-up.
Q: With a degree in economics, do you hope to pursue the business route or do you have a different dream job?
A: Right now, I'm looking to play overseas. This summer I'm going to play for the [Belarus] National Team and try to get into a couple of camps. Then, by August, I would like to play on a team in Italy or Spain, so hopefully everything works out well so that I can keep playing for as long as I can. When I'm done with basketball, I can pursue my economics degree in some way.
Q: Why Spain and Italy?
A: They have very competitive leagues, and I would love to play there. Almost every country in Europe right now has one or two really good teams. The rest of the league isn't as competitive, but in Italy and Spain there are great teams.
Q: You played on the National team last summer. What's the schedule like?
A: The games start in August, but usually we get together two months before that. The first part is conditioning so we do a lot of running, swimming and all types of workouts, and then we start playing more and have scrimmages against other national teams like Ukraine, France and Jordan. Then in August we have four or five official games.
Q: How often were your family members in attendance at your games?
A: Not a lot, because my parents live back home in Belarus so they couldn't come to games, but they would watch me sometimes on TV. My brother game down for senior night--he works for GW so he couldn't come to a lot of games, but he came down to the Duke game which was really exciting.