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Sergey Karasev on Lionel Hollins, Andrei Kirilenko, his future and his wedding

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Brooklyn Nets

Like Bojan Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic, Sergey Karasev has spoken to local media in his home country. In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with R-Sport, a popular Russian sports site, Karasev was asked about everything from his coach to his wedding.

Like Bogdanovic, Karasev admitted to a somewhat uneasy relationship with Lionel Hollins, but one that he saw, in the end, as mutually respectful.

"Actually I wouldn't call his relationship with any player straight-forward, because he tailors his coaching approach to each individual. He plays his cards close to his chest but he's a top class professional.  He has a great feel for the game, and if you give him your all during each practice and every time you play, it does not go unnoticed - He will always tell you that you're doing a good job and to keep up he good work.  I think I have a pretty good relationship with him.  He has come up to me, given some tips and advice and told me what I need to work on.   I hope next year I can prove that I can play under his leadership."

Karasev, who's rehabbing from March surgery on his knee -- dislocated knee cap and torn MCL. admits next season will be crucial to his NBA career.  He thinks he made progress this past season.

"This year, I felt that there was progress, getting playing time, being in the starting five for a month and a half and feeling that I could safely play in this league. Then it so happened that I went back to the bench, and then came this injury. I think I made gains this season. All the same if you play in this league, it is not possible to deteriorate, because everything here is top notch.

"On the whole, it has been a productive year for me, and now I have all summer to prepare and recover so I can come in the best shape for the next season, which will be one of the most important in my career in the NBA. If you are in the third season and still sit on the bench, you can't make an excuse like it's your first year when you're a beginner.  You need to prove that I can play and I can get better."

Karasev admits he must play better defense and be more aggressive on offense, play more American than European.  He still can't commit to play for Team Russia in FIBA Eurobasket, which starts September 5 in France, despite being pushed by national team management. He has said doctors hope he'll be ready to resume contact in August.

"Of course, I would love to play, but it is difficult to say, because it is not known how I will feel in a month or two, I do have get in optimal shape for the European Championship. Of course, I would like to help the team.".

The 21-year-old, the second Russian to play for Mikhail Prokhorov's Brooklyn Nets, said he was shocked when the first Russian player, Andrei Kirilenko, was traded and went back to Russia where he played with his old club, CSKA Moscow. It was an introduction on what a business the NBA is.

"Of course, he really helped me in many ways, more probably, in every day life terms. This is the NBA. It is a business, anything can happen, you can be traded, even if you're the best player. Here nothing is safe. Of course, I was upset when Kirya left for Europe in CSKA. I understand it, he was not getting playing time, and now he has a good chance to finish the season on a positive note. I know that he always wanted to win the Euroleague after that misfire that occurred three years ago, when they lost in the final. (CSKA made it to the Euroleague Final Four but lost last weekend.)"

And what about that wedding ... in a helicopter ... over Las Vegas ... on Valentines' Day?  Whose idea was that??

"It was my wife's idea .... We first thought about the date of the wedding and chose February 14 - Valentine's Day, it's great plus it fell on All-Star weekend in the NBA. We flew to Vegas and wanted to make it perfect for ourselves, because this happens once in a lifetime, and to leave good memories of it, we had to do something for ourselves, so it came up this way."

Who does he think will win the NBA championship? Golden State.