Kirk Archibeque and the Polish basketball team PGE Turow have gotten off to a hot start to begin their 2016-2017 campaign.
The team is currently 4-2 and third in the Tauron Basket Liga standings. And Archibeque, a 2003 Montezuma-Cortez graduate, has been a big part of its success.
He leads the squad in points per game and rebounds, and after averaging 17 points and 7.3 boards in his first three games of the season, the Polish basketball website PolskiKosz.pl named him the league’s Most Valuable Player for October.
Archibeque joined PGE Turow in January, midway through the 2015-16 season, and averaged 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in 18 contests, but the team missed playoffs by one spot.
Over the summer, Archibeque signed a two-year contract extension with the organization, and said that he changed up his diet to prepare for this season.
He cut out almost all carbohydrates and avoided pastas and breads, while also working out twice a day, dropping 20 pounds in the process.
He said that some of his reasoning behind the routine was to take weight off his knees, but that he also wanted to improve his quickness.
“I definitely feel a lot quicker on the floor,” he said. “I feel a lot quicker getting off the ground. And I’m also getting older, so I’ve got to help my knees out as much as possible. So, being 15 to 20 pounds lighter is definitely doing that and helping out a lot.”
While Archibeque has been crucial to PGE Turow’s success, the Cortez native said that the team’s great start to the season is a group effort.
“You can’t key just on one or two players, because I think six guys are averaging double figures on the team right now,” he said. “So you can’t just say, ‘We’re going to stop this guy and this guy,’ because we’ve got four other guys that will put 15 points on you.”
Archibeque thinks that Stelmet ZG and Rosa Radom are the two championship favorites this year after meeting in the title series last season, but he said his team is in the mix.
“I feel like our team is just as good as those top teams this year,” he said. “And I feel like a lot of teams are recognizing that, and there’s a lot of hype around our team right now.”