The veteran Savo Djikanovic (211-C-75, agency: Beo Basket) won another title in his successful career a week ago. His team Etha defeated Keravnos in the league final series (3-1) and took the 2nd title in a row in Cyprus. Savo is talking for Eurobasket.com about the very successfull season in Cyprus and past events that marked his career.
Savo, congratulations on your first title in Cyprus! Your team Etha defeated Keravnos in the finals, the team that completed the regular season in first place. In that way you won the championship of Cyprus for the second consecutive year. What are your impressions after winning the trophy?
Thank you for the kind wishes. We repated the same success from last year when Etha finished the regular season at the 4th place but won the title anyway. We eliminated the 2nd ranked Apollon in the semifinals and clashed with Keravnos in the finals. They were the favorites because they had only one defeat in the regular season but we won the title! I think my team showed to everybody how important is the team spirit if you want to win the championship.
You started the season in Marussi (Greece) but you decided to leave the team in December and move to Cyprus. In the meantime, the former Euroleague member experienced a real shipwreck and ended competition in the last place with 1- 23 record. It is now clear that you made the right decision, but I would like to know how hard was to make that decision at that time, knowing the history of Marussi and their importance in Greek basketball?
Marussi was a well organized and good team with great tradion. But things changed this season when the club president and main sponsor left them. The club also had problems with FIBA because they owed money to Jared Homan (206-C-83, college: Iowa St.) and it only made the things worse. Unfortunately, it was impossible to find a solution so many players decided to leave after just a couple of games. I am known as a tough competitor who does not like to leave the unsolved problems behind but I had no choice. I had to leave them and I do not regret now.
Could you recall the beginnings of your career for the for readers of Eurobasket ? Why did you decide to play basketball?
I have started my basketball career at the age of 14 when I enrolled in Buducnost Podgorica youth team. I was the tallest one in my generation and after some time I joined the first team of Buducnost. We won the first trophy in the clubs history when we defeated Partizan in a great Cup Final. I decided to start playing basketball because I knew it would help me to develop as a person and live a healthy life.
Basketball fans in the former Yugoslavia remembered you well in the season 2000-2001 season when the team led by you, Ranko Carapic (185-G-70, agency: Beo Basket), Nikola Vucurovic (200-G/F-80, agency: Global Sports Plaza), Zoran Milovic (204-C/F-77) reached the semifinals of YUBA League, which was back then a very competitive league. What type of memories link you to that period of your career, considering that the team was very young and talented but also succesfull?
I am really proud on my years in Lovcen. It was a well organized club with many good players and coaches and it was hard to beat us in Cetinje. We worked very hard in each practice trying to make a name for ourselves and the club. That club was the first important step in many successful careers, including mine.
In 2003 you moved from Lovcen to the giant from Athens, Olympiakos, and debuted in the Euroleague. Now, as you are an experienced player you can objectively answer this question-How does it feel when a team like Olympiakos show interest in you? Although you must be aware that its hard to get enough space to prove yourself its hard to say no to such an important club, right?
When my agent Misko Raznatovic told me that such a strong club would like to hire me I was excited because everybody know what the name Olympiakos means in Europe. It did not take me long to recall all the great names that passed through the history of basketball club Olympiakos. Thanks to the coach of Lovcen Goran Bojanic who convinced the club's mangement to let me go I got a chance to join the great club from Athens. Of course, I did not think twice. It was a dream come true.
Olympiakos was for me a big experience because it was my first season abroad. At that time the club from Athens had a team full of veterans and it was hard for me to get a lot of playing time. Thanks to Nenad Markovic and Milan Tomic I passed successfully some hard moments there and I am very grateful to them although as a team we did not have a great season.
After only one season in Greece you came back to Serbia& Montenegro and joined Hemofarm where you career reached its peak. With Hemofarm you won the Adriatic League for the first (and only ..) time in their history, made the ULEB Cup semifinals and finals of the domestic championship twice. A great generation of the team from Vrsac was led by you, Nebojsa Bogavac (199-G-73, agency: BeoExcell), Bojan Bakic (197-G-83, agency: Alti Sport) etc. What was the key to your success in those years and what do you think about the latest finacial difficulties of the team from Vrsac, knowing the fact that you spent three very successful seasons there?
I can say now that three seasons in Hemofarm were the best years in my career. Every finals against Partizan was a story in itself, and nobody forced them to fight so hard in the finals series like we did. Of course, I still regret because we did not win the domestic championship title although we had a very good team and a nice budget. But we won the Adriatic League final game against Partizan in Belgrade and nobody can take that away from us. Besides that, we also had a lot of success in Europe. The key of our success was in the great team chemistry and good organization on and off the court. I think my former club will soon return where it belongs because it is a serious project where a lot of money has been invested. Hemofarms youth teams are still among the best in the country and youth coaches are very good so I am not affraid for Hemofarms future.
In the 2006-2007 season you tried your luck for the second time in Greece, but this time as a mature player, a leader. And you did not make a mistake. For Olimpia GE Larisa you averaged 10.9 ppg and 6.5rpg while shooting 55.0% from the field. My question is- Why Greece? It was your desire to prove yourself there after the episode in Olympiakos, or simply it was the best offer at that point of your career?
I chose again to go to Greece because I was familiar with that style of play. I like to play hard basketball and Greece fits well to my style of play. I probably could have chosen some other country to test my skills but I did not want to take any chances. And I was right. The year after I left Hemofarm was one of my most successful seasons abroad.
Your career after Hemofarm was mainly related to Greece and Cyprus, where you lived last year a basketball renaissance at the age of 36 (averaged double-double in the first part of the Championship- 14.8ppg, 10.3rpg). To be the best rebounder in that league is no small thing, knowing that the League is full of American players. Have you found peace in that part of the Mediterranean, and how long do you plan to play professional basketball?
Everyone who has lived or travelled to Greece or Cyprus knows how close they are to our culture and mentality. After many years abroad I have met many friends there. I hear often the question: How long are you going to play basketball? but I always reply that I would play one more season...but after that season there is another one etc. Honestly, I do not know. I can say that I am grateful to my fitness coach and friend Dejan Jasovic who met me when I played for Lovcen and we still have a wonderful collaboration. Dejan works with me every summer and helps me to get ready for the hard challenges.
Do you have time to follow basketball in Montenegro? Does our basketball league have a future?
I follow the basketball league in Montenegro and as I can see the league has made no progress. Actually, it is worse than it was a couple of years ago. The only good thing that I noticed is that some clubs are trying to promote junior players and give them a chance at the highest stage in Montenegro. I think that we need a strong Buducnost but also strong basketball centers with tradition such as Lovcen, Sutjeska, Mornar, Jedinstvo, Berane, Herceg Novi etc. Only if we make efforts to revive those cities our league will gain respect abroad.
Thank you Savo for this interview! Eurobasket.com would like to wish you a nice off-season. Rest well after the exhausting season!
Thank you once again for the kind wishes. I wish you all the best!
Koljevic number one in Montenegro for round 2 - 2 days ago
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Guard Marko Koljevic (191-G-90) put on an amazing game in the last round for S.Centar, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 2. The 26-year old player was the main contributor (50 points, four rebounds) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Teodo Tivat (1-1) 86-78. S.Centar is placed at 5th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. S.Centar is a typical solid league team placed somewhere in the middle or a little bit lower in the standings. They need more victories... [read more]
Guard Marko Koljevic (191-G-90) put on an amazing game in the last round for S.Centar, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 2. The 26-year old player was the main contributor (50 points, four rebounds) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Teodo Tivat (1-1) 86-78. S.Centar is placed at 5th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. S.Centar is a typical solid league team placed somewhere in the middle or a little bit lower in the standings. They need more victories to improve their 1-1 record. In the team's last game Koljevic had a remarkable 77.8% from 2-point range and got nine three-pointers out of 11 attempts. It was one of impressive evenings for him as usually he does not deliver so high stats.
The second best player in last round's games was 27-year old Boris Jeknic (203-C-89) of Ulcinj. Jeknic had a very good evening with a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds. Of course Ulcinj cruised to a 68-59 relatively comfortable win over Primorje 1945 (0-2). The season is still at the very beginning and this victory may help a lot. Let's wait for the next round. Jeknic is a newcomer at Ulcinj and despite he is not a team leader yet, every game he becomes more reliable player. Hopefully performances like the last one will happen more often.
Third on the list of top players last round was guard Milorad Sutulovic (196-G-90) of Danilovgrad (#6). Sutulovic scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Despite Sutulovic's great performance Danilovgrad lost 66-73 to Jedinstvo (1-1). But his team cannot count on just a single player as he also needs help of the other teammates. The last thing Danilovgrad needs is to lose another game like this one. They lose more and more distance to the top teams. Their record is 1 victory and 1 lost game. The season just started for Sutulovic as he played only first game. But it already looks like he can be team's leader.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Milos Lopicic (216-C-90) of Lovcen - 16 points and 17 rebounds 5. Jovan Bacovic (197-F-86) of Primorje 1945 - 16 points and 13 rebounds 6. Arso Lekovic (200-SF-90) of Jedinstvo - 11 points and 15 rebounds 7. Milan Stanojevic (183-G-86) of Teodo Tivat - 18 points and 9 assists 8. Vasilije Knezevic (202-C-96) of Lovcen - 22 points and 6 rebounds 9. Vladimir Milosevic (201-F-87) of S.Centar - 7 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists 10. Nikola Djokovic (190-SG-89) of Sutjeska - 21 points 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)
Adriatic League: Buducnost prevail against Mornar - 3 days ago
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Buducnost - Mornar 85:68 Buducnost kept on winning in the Adriatic League season. The Montenegrin powerhouse posted the sixth straight win beating their state rivals Mornar. Suad Sehovic (197-G/F-87) nailed 24 points to lead the winners. Buducnost eked out a 23:20 lead after ten minutes. The Montenegrin side stretched the gap at 8-point mark at the interval 50:42. Buducnost held their opponents to just 9 points in the third quarter to gain a comfortable 17-point lead at the final break.... [read more]
Buducnost - Mornar 85:68
Buducnost kept on winning in the Adriatic League season. The Montenegrin powerhouse posted the sixth straight win beating their state rivals Mornar. Suad Sehovic (197-G/F-87) nailed 24 points to lead the winners. Buducnost eked out a 23:20 lead after ten minutes. The Montenegrin side stretched the gap at 8-point mark at the interval 50:42. Buducnost held their opponents to just 9 points in the third quarter to gain a comfortable 17-point lead at the final break. Buducnost maintained the lead throughout the fourth quarter and rallied to the win. Petar Popovic (194-PG-96, agency: BeoBasket) netted 18 points, while J.R. Reynolds (188-G-84, college: Virginia, agency: Inception Sports) added 10 points for the hosts. Lamont Jones (183-PG-90, college: Iona, agency: Stanislav Ryzhov) responded with 13 points for Mornar. Cole Dickerson (201-F-91, college: USF) and Marko Mijovic (187-PG-87) had 10 points each in the loss.
Once again home teams did not have any luck. Actually, in all three games that were played so far away teams won. Primorje and Ulcinj play tomorrow and if Ulcinj gets a win they will complete the round full of surprises. But let's start with yesterday's game between two old rivals- Lovcen and Sutjeska. Sutjeska won in Cetinje (80-73) but after an overtime. Milos Lopicic (216-C-90) sent the game to overtime with a triple made just before the shot clock called the end of game. However, in t... [read more]
Once again home teams did not have any luck. Actually, in all three games that were played so far away teams won. Primorje and Ulcinj play tomorrow and if Ulcinj gets a win they will complete the round full of surprises. But let's start with yesterday's game between two old rivals- Lovcen and Sutjeska. Sutjeska won in Cetinje (80-73) but after an overtime. Milos Lopicic (216-C-90) sent the game to overtime with a triple made just before the shot clock called the end of game. However, in the overtime Nikola Djokovic (190-SG-89) (21 points) and other Sutjeska's players showed more patience and won the game. On the other side Milos Lopicic had 16 points and 17 rebounds while the other big man Vasilije Knezevic (202-C-96) had 22 points.
After the defeat against Danilovgrad at home probably nobody expected that Studentski centar would give serious trouble to the Balkan league member Teodo. But they did more than that and won the game in Tivat (86-78) thanks to a great performance by Marko Koljevic (191-G-90). Koljevic, who used to play for Teodo before, scored 50 points while shooting 9/11 from the 3 point line! This is probably one of the best, if not the best, performances in the history of Montenegrin championship. On the other side Serbian guard Milan Stanojevic (183-G-86, college: E.Washington, agency: Mansfield and Associates) led 5 scorers in double digits for Teodo but it was not enough to match with great performance by Koljevic.
Danilovgrad hosted Jedinstvo but was unable to get a win (66-73). Both teams had a chance to win tonight and the game was close until the last moments but Jedinstvo deserved to get the first win of the season. Stefan Knezevic (204-C-89) (18 points) and Milos Jelovac (188-G-97) (17 points) led the guests. In the home team Milorad Sutulovic (196-G-90) had another good game with 23 points.
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