Real Madrid power forward/centre Anthony Randolph has revealed that it took him some time to adjust the basketball in the EuroLeague when he left the NBA to join Lokomotiv Kuban in 2014.
The American, who was born on a military base in Germany, said he moved to Russia in order to expand his professional career.
"It was just a basketball decision," he is quoted by the EuroLeague’s official website. "I didn’t even think about where it was.
“I was just recently finished with the NBA so I was looking for a place I felt I could excel. At that time, Lokomotiv was the best place I could be seen and possibly get better jobs down the line. I had a few other offers, but I felt that was the best place for me to go and it worked out perfect."
He added, "I did some research so I knew that Lokomotiv played at a good level of competition, and I heard some good things talking to other players. I talked to a lot of people and I knew it was the best basketball decision to make at that time.
"I didn’t know anyone at the club when I signed there, but it wasn’t tough to settle in. We had a few Americans on the team and we became a close group, which really helped my transition. It’s always a learning process, but the beauty is that all basketball players speak some English wherever they come from, so that helped a lot.
"The language of the locker room was Russian, but the film study and most of practice was done in English. We had a few Americans like Aaron Miles, Richard Hendrix, Malcolm Delaney and Chris Singleton, and Victor Claver also spoke perfect English. A lot of great teammates."
Adapting to life on the court turned out to be more of a difficult process than settling into a new country: "It was a transition. It took me a while to adjust to the game, because they are two totally different types of games from the NBA and Europe.
“Everything was different – the tactical aspects, the physicality, the way the games are refereed and coached. But once I was able to spend some time on the court, I was able to adjust and everything went smoothly.”
Randolph moved to Real Madrid in 2016 and says it was a no-brainer signing up with the Spanish giants.
"It was very easy to come here," he admitted. "I already understood that the club really takes care of their players and that they always compete for major titles every single year.
“The reason we play is to win, so that made my decision to come here very easy. I’m a little more comfortable in Madrid because the language barrier isn’t as difficult as Russian, but each place has its merits. I’m happy to be here in Madrid and hope to stay for a few more years."