Elias Valtonen: "NCAA is my next step"

Image of Elias Valtonen: "NCAA is my next step"
Scoutbasketball had the chance to interview top Finnish prospect Elias Valtonen (SG/SF 1.97 99') after last game of FIBA U17 World Championship.

Elias Valtonen was one of the players that stood up in FIBA's U17 World Championship. Being a small forward, Valtonen was forced to play out of position (power forward) for most of the Tournament because of the lack of big bodies in Finland, but he was still able to show some really nice skills, impressing many scouts with his shooting ability and court vision. And Stefanos Makris was there to interview him for Scoutbasketball.

Can you tell me your first thoughts about the tournament?

We had a great start by winning the first game against China, but then we lost two games in a row against Australia and Canada. We wanted to get to Top-8 but we couldn't do that. Then out next goal it was to get to Top-10 but we couldn't do that also, so we can't be really happy with the 12th place.

On personal level, are you happy from your performances?

Well I had some really good games, but also some bad games, but at the end of the day that's basketball

You played a lot as a power forward in this Tournament but clearly that is not your position. Where do you fell more comfortable? What is your natural position?

My position is shooting guard/small forward. I feel more comfortable in the perimeter, handling the ball and do things that perimeter players do.

Which aspect of your game do you think that needs to be improved?

I can improve in my ball handling of course and how to react when I have the ball. Also, I can still improve in shooting, but the truth is that I have to improve in little beat of everything in my game.

Do you expect to have more responsibilities in your team next year now that Markanen has left?

Yes maybe, I don't know. We will see.

Is NCAA in your mind?

Yes of course, for me it's the most likely option.

And after NCAA, what's next? What is your dream?

Playing in the NBA. That's my dream.

Talking about NBA, who is your favorite player?

Kevin Durant. I like his passion and he is a role model for me.

By Stefanos Makris

Elias Valtonen video

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