Rickey Young (204-F/C-90, college: W.Virginia Tech), the young American forward who is currently averaging 12ppg and 11 rpg for Centar Bijelo Polje ( MNE 2nd Division) shared with eurobasket.com his thoughts about European basketball and his ups and downs in Montenegro this year. Like everybody else here in Montenegro, Ricky also experienced surprising hard weather conditions in the last couple of days.
Hello Rickey, I have to ask you first how do you like the snow here in Montenegro? You are probably not used to it?
The snow here in Montenegro is unbelieveable!! As you know I am from the south ( Atlanta,Ga) so Ive never experienced snow like this, its up to my knees..
Its not a usual thing to see an American in Montenegin Second Division. You signed a contract for one of the top teams in Montenegro, Ulcinj, at beginning of the season and then you moved to Centar, a small club from Bijelo Polje. What do you think about your new club and your latest performances? It seems to me that it did not take you long to conquer the hearts of fans in Bijelo Polje.
My new team ( KK Centar) is a young team, but they play hard everyday and I respect that. My last few performances have been solid, three consecutive double-doubles. And yes the fans here in Bijelo Polje have been great.
However, you and your ex teammate Paul Kirkpatrick (208-C-89, college: Howard) were the first Americans in Ulcinj's history but you did not settle in well. Both of you left the team after a couple of months. Is there a specific reason or you just did not feel it was a perfect situation for you?
Im not sure if I can say there was one specific reason why things didnt workout in Ulcinj, it was just the wrong situation at that stage of my career. I needed time to adjust to this game and playing with foreign players, but the management in Ulcinj are very ambitious right now and needed someone who could step in right-away and lead that team to good results.
Considering the fact that your first professional adventure in Ulcinj did not proceed as you planned, could you explain us how difficult it is to get used to living in a different culture, in a foreign country? It must be hard for a 21 year old, fresh out of college.
It is very difficult to adjust to life in a foreign country. The biggest obstacle would have to be communicating with the people on a daily basis.
You played in a small NAIA school. It would be interesting to know more details about your 'road to Europe'? Who helped you to get a deal in Montenegro? Why did you choose Montenegro?
Yes I attended a small NAIA school ( WV Tech). I played two seasons there before pursuing a professional career. My road to Europe has been an unlikely one! I only played one season of high school basketball, my last two at tech,and this is only my fourth year playing organized basketball. My agent (Sejo Cokrlija ) got me a deal here in Montenegro. we choose Montenegro because he is actually from Bijelo Polje, and felt that this would be a good place to begin my career.
As I said before, this is the first step in your professional career. Could you tell us more about the impact of european basketball on you? How did you adjust to the european style of play?
The European game is very different from the game I got used to in college. from the game rules, to the spacing on defense, and just the overall flow of the game. This game has really impacted me mentally, because it is a different game! Earlier in the season I was over-thinking and making mistakes on the floor. Now that I have adjusted to the game I'm thinking less and back to playing good ball.
Is there a significant difference in basketball level between US college league where you played and basketball in Montenegro, considering the fact that most teams in Montenegro have young teams?
Yes there is a big difference between the leagues. The players in America are much more athletic and physically stronger than many of the players here. But Ive noticed that there are much better shooter here in Europe even the big men can step out and make jumpshot.
How do you get along with local people? Did you have any problems with them?
The people here in Bijelo Polje are great! They welcomed me in from the first day I arrived, I havent had any problems since Ive been here.
What are your plans for the future? After a season in Montenegro you will probably want to move to a stronger league?
My plans for the future include finishing this year strong, and helping kk centar get to first division. As far as longterm, I plan to continue to get better and play in one of the top leagues in Europe. Hopefully sooner than later.
Thank you Rickey for taking the time to respond to our questions. Eurobasket. com team wishes you a good season and many success in your overseas career .
Adriatic League: Union Oimpija rally past Buducnost - 1 day ago
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Union Olimpija - Buducnost 81:79 Union Olimpija celebrated the 10th victory in Adriatic League regular season. They nipped Buducnost in Ljubljana tonight. Nikola Jankovic (207-PF-94, agency: BeoBasket) and Brandon Jefferson (175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) provided 24 points each to pace the hosts. Union Olimpija sank 23 points in the opening quarter to take a 4-point lead. The Slovenian team maintained the lead throughout the second frame. They built a 45:40 halftime lead. Buducnost nar... [read more]
Union Olimpija - Buducnost 81:79
Union Olimpija celebrated the 10th victory in Adriatic League regular season. They nipped Buducnost in Ljubljana tonight. Nikola Jankovic (207-PF-94, agency: BeoBasket) and Brandon Jefferson (175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) provided 24 points each to pace the hosts. Union Olimpija sank 23 points in the opening quarter to take a 4-point lead. The Slovenian team maintained the lead throughout the second frame. They built a 45:40 halftime lead. Buducnost narrowed the deficit in the third term. They got within two points at the final intermission. Union Olimpija however hung on to a slim lead throughout the fourth term and eked out a narrow win. Gregor Hrovat (196-G/F-94) chipped in 12 points for the winners. J.R. Reynolds (188-G-84, college: Virginia, agency: Inception Sports) responded with 17 points for Buducnost. Owen Klassen (208-C/F-91, college: Acadia) had 15 points in the loss.
Egis Kormend (A Division) agreed terms with 26-year old American forward Cole Dickerson (201-104kg-91, college: USF). It is actually his comeback to Kormend as he has played here before. Dickerson supposed to play at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga, but left the team in Dec.'16. In 10 games he had 9.3ppg and 3.3rpg this season. Dickerson also played 8 games in Basketball Champions League where he recorded 4.6ppg, 2.6rpg and 1.0spg. The last season Dickerson played at Egis Kormend. In... [read more]
Egis Kormend (A Division) agreed terms with 26-year old American forward Cole Dickerson (201-104kg-91, college: USF). It is actually his comeback to Kormend as he has played here before. Dickerson supposed to play at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga, but left the team in Dec.'16. In 10 games he had 9.3ppg and 3.3rpg this season. Dickerson also played 8 games in Basketball Champions League where he recorded 4.6ppg, 2.6rpg and 1.0spg. The last season Dickerson played at Egis Kormend. In 38 A Division games he averaged 12.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.4apg and 1.0spg. He helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Hungarian League Honorable Mention. Dickerson also played 6 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he got 11.2ppg, 3.8rpg and 1.7apg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Dickerson was voted All-WCC 1st Team back in 2013 and 2014 at his college time. Dickerson has played previously professionally in Finland (Lapuan_Korikobrat) and Holland (Den Helder). He attended University of San Francisco until 2014 and it is his third season as a professional player.
Latkovic number one in Montenegro for round 19 (by Court Side) - 3 days ago
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Guard Milos Latkovic (196-G-93, agency: Dynamics Global Management) had a great game in the last round for Lovcen, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19.
The 23-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, five rebounds and four assists) to his team's victory, helping them to outclass Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) with 34-point margin 98-64. Lovcen maintains the 4th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games... [read more]
Guard Milos Latkovic (196-G-93, agency: Dynamics Global Management) had a great game in the last round for Lovcen, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19. The 23-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, five rebounds and four assists) to his team's victory, helping them to outclass Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) with 34-point margin 98-64. Lovcen maintains the 4th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Lovcen will need more victories to improve their 10-7 record. In the team's last game Latkovic had a remarkable 72.7% from 2-point range and got four three-pointers out of 6 attempts. He just recently signed at Lovcen, being already a very valuable addition to the team. Milos Latkovic has solid league stats. He is league's best scorer averaging so far 22.3ppg. Latkovic is in league's top in assists (4th best: 5.0apg) and averages impressive 2.3spg,55.0% FGP and 41.7% from behind 3-point line.
The second best player in last round's games was another Lovcen's star - young Vasilije Knezevic (202-C-96). Knezevic had a very good evening with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Of course together with Latkovic he helped Lovcen with another comfortable win outscoring the lower-ranked Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) 98-64. Lovcen's 4th position in the standings has not changed. His team's 10-7 record is not bad at all. Knezevic is one of the most experienced players at Lovcen and similarly like Milos Latkovic has a reputation of one of team's most reliable players.
Third on the list of top players last round was center Boris Jeknic (203-C-89) of Ulcinj (#5). Jeknic showcased his all-around game by recording 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the last round. He was a key player of Ulcinj, leading his team to a 92-83 win against slightly lower-ranked S.Centar (#6, 7-10). Ulcinj needs these victories very badly if they think about getting closer to top teams. Their record at this point is 9 victories and 8 lost games. Jeknic has a very solid season. In 17 games in Montenegro he scored 13.1ppg. He also has 5.7rpg and FGP: 64.2%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Djoko Salic (213-C-95) of Sutjeska - 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists 5. Milan Latkovic (184-G-86) of Ulcinj - 24 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists 6. Marko Koljevic (191-G-90) of S.Centar - 32 points and 3 rebounds 7. Nikola Rondovic (207-PF-91) of Ibar Rozaje - 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists 8. Marko Ljujic (207-C-90) of Ibar Rozaje - 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists 9. Dejan Bjelic (209-C-90) of Jedinstvo - 18 points and 7 rebounds 10. Dragoje Djokovic (190-G-93) of Ulcinj - 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
The Player of the Week awards are presented by Court Side. Court Side is the global leader in basketball management, and is widely regarded as the most dynamic and innovative company of its kind. It was the first Basketball Agency to launch its own website, and the first to have its own database. Court Side has more agents and manpower within its organization, than any other competitor, and its international network of basketball contacts is still unparalleled.
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