The Greek team of Μέγας Αλέξανδρος 1994 has recently announced the signing of Scottish international, David Ion following his departure from Vital Zuzanek. He spoke with Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings (his former Scotland teammate) and gave an insight into the Greek league as well as discussing his aspirations to represent the Scotland men’s 3×3 team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, GB.
Why did you choose to move to Μέγας Αλέξανδρος 1994 in a league that’s not known by a lot of people outside of Greece?
“As I am a young player, I wanted to experience everything I can such as cultures and places. When speaking with Μέγας Αλέξανδρος 1994 they made me very keen to play for them with lots of benefits for myself and my family in addition to great prospects for the future within the Greek league and IWBF EuroLeague. I want to make the league stronger and more known so that players around the world can play here as Greece is such a great country.”
Why did you leave Vital Zuzanek, were you unhappy there?
“I left Zuzanek as I felt that it was not the right place for me. I felt like my strengths were not used as much as they should have been. You could say that I was unhappy, but I was able to train multiple times a day in good facilities across the city. I needed to leave to progress further in my career.”
How do you feel about not playing in the Division de Honour next season?
“There is no doubt that the Division de Honour is one of the best leagues in the world. It is sad to leave but I am happy to experience new leagues and countries!”
What new challenges do you think you will face in Greece?
“I think the new challenges I will face in Greece will be the different styles of play that the teams have compared to the other leagues that I have played in around Europe.”
Several British players play outside of the UK, why do you think this is and what do you think the British league needs to do to up the standard of competition?
“The main thing is that most leagues outside of the UK are professional. I feel a lot of people play outside of the UK just like a lot of players play outside of USA, it’s like a meeting ground for players to compete and play together professionally. The British league have some great players in it, and I believe that more coverage of the sport will help the development of the league.”
What are your goals for next season?
“To be a dominant force in the league and to help my team win the league as they made it to the Greek Final Four last year but sadly just missed out on a medal.”
What do you think Scotland needs to do to prepare for the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
“We need to get together and focus on the 3×3 side of basketball. Training sessions need to be more frequent, but I know it is hard right now as basketballscotland have been launching new projects for juniors such as the first ever ‘Jr. NBA wheelchair league’ which is an amazing opportunity for young kids.”
How do you think Scottish culture differs from Greek culture?
“I am not too sure what culture differences are, but I am sure I will learn soon enough. I do know that in Greece it is very relaxed, and people are very chilled out!”
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for Scottish wheelchair basketball?
“It means the world that I am an ambassador for Scottish wheelchair basketball. I know that the sport is growing rapidly in Scotland and so many young kids are getting involved, so to be able to be someone they can look up to or talk to is just a great feeling.”
How would you describe your style of play?
“Unorthodox within a 4.5 role, meaning a normal role would be as an inside and around the key shooter but I like to shoot everywhere on court.”
Has anyone specifically influenced you to play the way you do?
“I watch a lot of NBA and a perfect example of someone who is big inside the key but also dominant anywhere around the court is Kevin Durant, I try to push myself to become that type of force on court.”
What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career?
“Never give up on your dreams, surround yourself with influential people that will always motivate you and keep you on the right track.”
If you could do a training session with three other players from anywhere in the world male or female to improve your skills, which players would you choose and why?
“Lee Manning; because he is a dominant force in the key. Phil Pratt; because he is a pass first player and a dominant shooter from around the key. Richard Norte; because he has such a good head and eye for the game due to his experience.”
How important is it for you to be a role model to your little daughter?
“It’s the most important thing in my life. I do what I do for her and to also show her that when she grows up, she can become or do whatever she sets her heart on doing.”
Thanks for your time mate!
Rollt. would like to thank David Ion for the interview.
David Ion Profile
Date of Birth: 27/12/1995 (aged 23)
Hometown: Alva, Clackmannanshire (started his career in Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Started playing: 2009
Scotland debut: 2011 Celtic Cup – Stirling, Scotland
Disability: Rare bone disease in left ankle which cases deterioration of the bone and arthritis
Future Club: Μέγας Αλέξανδρος 1994, GRE (starting January 2020)
_Newcastle Eagles, GBR (2009-14)
_USC Munich, GER (2014-15)
_CWSC Panthers, GBR (2015-17)
_Getafe BSR, ESP (2017-18)
_Vital Zuzanek, ESP (2018-19)
_Going undefeated in the 2014/15 season with USC Munich
_Being the 3rd best rebounder and 10th best shooter in the Division de Honour during his first season in Spain.
_Winning gold five times with Scotland at the Celtic Cup
Interview Dylan Cummings | Photos: Gabi Appel & Harald Appel