The staggering amount of times D. J. Stephens of Prometey Solobozhanske has appeared in the top plays of the week this season already puts him on the shortlist of the most spectacular players of the first 20 years of the 7DAYS EuroCup. Stephens, 32, regularly shocks EuroCup fans with his tremendous dunks and high-flying blocks. On top of that, he has averaged 12.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals for a PIR of 14.9. He is ninth in the competition in two-point shooting (72.0% 2FG) and has helped Prometey to first place in Group A (10-4) with four regular season games remaining.
Stephens said that he and his teammates feel the support from Ukrainian fans wherever they are. "When we go certain places and we play away games in these different countries and you see the Ukrainian flags that fans are waving in the arena, it kind of gives you a sense of support," he told EuroCupBasketball.com. "Even though sometimes there's not many people, but still just knowing that there's people there that stand with Ukraine and they support Ukraine, it feels special."
Hello, D.J., congratulations on a great season. Prometey leads Group A over a lot of classic teams. What's been the key?
"It's actually pretty interesting because we started off kind of rough and everybody was panicking a little bit, like we were a little bit on edge. We didn't really realize how young our team was, how much we had to grow and how much we had to learn because in pre-season, we were playing pretty well. We went to Turkiye, we beat Fenerbahce, Karsiyaka and quite a few other teams. We were playing really well. So when we started in the EuroCup, we won the first game and then we lost to Brescia by 30.
“So it was kind of like an eye-opener a little bit, but we just worked through it, tried to figure out like, what wasn't working, what was working, trying to figure out what our identity was as a team and our strengths. And pretty much our strengths are just trying to be really good and aggressive defensively and then trying to get out and play fast in transition and get quick, easy baskets and offensive rebounds... Playing this fast uptempo pace, it's tough for a lot of teams to keep up with this style of play because they are not used to playing it every night or practicing like this every day. So usually, if we are able to force our style of basketball on other teams, is tough for other teams to compete and get the wins."