Dusko Bunic (207-C-89, agency: Beo Basket) is along with Pavlin Ivanov (195-G-93, agency: Beo Basket) and Jordan Taylor (185-PG-89), one of the new faces in Buducnost Podgorica. Eurobasket.com took the opportunity to interview him and ask him about his expectations a couple of days before the start of preparations for the new season with his new club.
Hello Dusko, could you introduce yourself to theEurobasket.com readers and tell them more about the beginnings of your career? When did you start playing basketball and who was your first coach?
Hello, I started my career when I was 13 years old at Spartak Subotica and my first coach was Blagoje Ivic .
From 2007 until last season, you played for KK Novi Sad Panonska Banka and was one of the best players of the team which provided you a U20 National Team invitation. How important for you was to get a chance at the early stage of your career at the highest level in Serbia?
Of course it meant a lot to me to get that chance. I took advantage of it and deservedly got the call for U20 National Team of Serbia.
Representing your country at the international level and winning gold medal is an incredible feeling. it was a huge success and I am very proud on it. I was honored to be a part of that team.
Before the start of last season there was a fusion of teams Novi Sad and Vojvodina, and KK Vojvodina Novi Sad was formed. You decided to stay in the same area and did not regret-your team reached the championship semi-finals where the giant Partizan Belgrade stopped you. How much satisfied are you with last season and do you feel that you progressed as a player?
The last season was a turning point in my career. We had a great team, led by a great coaching staff and when everything is at the right place at the right time to success is inevitable. Of course, from every good collective good individuals step up. Playing against teams like Partizan, Red Star, Radnicki is an invaluable experience that helped me mature as a player.
After the end of last season you signed a contract with Buducnost. Was there any specific reason to choose Buducnost?
I think that was the right move for me. I'm a young player, willing to work hard and still have room for improvement. Buducnost is a well organized club with tradition. They play in two very important competitions and it will be a big challenge for me.
I followed as much as I could.. Dejan Radonjic (agency: Beo Basket ) is known as a hard worker and his willingness to compete at the highest level is crucial for good results of Buducnost. Do you know personally some of your future teammates?
When do you arrive in Podgorica and what do you expect from your first season abroad?
I will be there on August 4. All I want in my first season abroad is to fit well in the team and contribute.
Buducnost n the next season will play in the Adriatic League, Eurocup, Montenegrin league and Montenegrin cup. Two centers Bojan Dubljevic and Hasan Rizvic have already left the team. Do you feel it as motivation to prove yourself in front of traditionally demanding fans from Podgorica, or you consider it as a burden?
It motivates me, of course. It is known that fans can be your sixth man on the floor, thus players are obligated to play to their maximum all the time. It will be my honor to defend the colors of Buducnost Podgorica.
Thank you for the interview Dusko. Eurobasket.com wishes you a lot of luck in your new club.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity. Best regards.
Cedevita - Buducnost 78:68 Cedevita claimed the fifth position at the Zadar Dogus Basketball Tournament. They overcame Buducnost in the final day of the tournament. Dzanan Musa (204-SG-99, agency: BeoBasket) notched 14 points to lead the Croatian team. Cedevita secured a 22:20 lead after the opening quarter. Buducnost pulled ahead in the second term. The Montenegrin side ensured a 45:43 halftime lead. Cedevita regained the lead in the third term. The Croatian side ensured a 3-point lead... [read more]
Cedevita - Buducnost 78:68
Cedevita claimed the fifth position at the Zadar Dogus Basketball Tournament. They overcame Buducnost in the final day of the tournament. Dzanan Musa (204-SG-99, agency: BeoBasket) notched 14 points to lead the Croatian team. Cedevita secured a 22:20 lead after the opening quarter. Buducnost pulled ahead in the second term. The Montenegrin side ensured a 45:43 halftime lead. Cedevita regained the lead in the third term. The Croatian side ensured a 3-point lead at the final intermission. Cedevita limited Buducnost to just 7 points in the fourth quarter and rallied to the win. Luka Babic (201-SF-91, agency: BeoBasket) and David Stockton (180-PG-91, college: Gonzaga) provided 13 points each for Cedevita. Nemanja Vranjes (187-G-88) answered with 17 points for Buducnost. Bojan Subotic (203-F-90) had 13 points in the defeat.
213-C-90, college: USC) is a well known name to basketball fans in the whole world. Born in Switzerland, raised in Belgium and Montenegro, professional player in the best league in the world- the National Basketball Association (NBA). EuroBasket.com interviewed him during his stay in Montenegro, while he was on a mission with Montenegrin National Team which ended successfully (Montenegro qualified for the European championship). Hello Nikola, could you tell us how did you... [read more]
Nikola Vucevic (213-C-90, college: USC) is a well known name to basketball fans in the whole world. Born in Switzerland, raised in Belgium and Montenegro, professional player in the best league in the world- the National Basketball Association (NBA). EuroBasket.com interviewed him during his stay in Montenegro, while he was on a mission with Montenegrin National Team which ended successfully (Montenegro qualified for the European championship).
Hello Nikola, could you tell us how did your basketball career start?
I have started playing basketball in Belgium, my father played there professionally. I watched him play, he was my role model and I felt in love with basketball at the age of 9. Then my family moved back to Montenegro.
Coming back to Montenegro was probably a cultural shock knowing that you were raised in Belgium?
Actually, it was not such a big cultural shock for me as I already had friends here. We used to come every summer for vacation to our home country. The only little issue was the knowledge of the local language. I went to French schools so it took me a while to adjust to learning in a different language although I was able to speak it fluently. Basketball was not a problem, its a very universal language so it did not take me long to learn basketball expressions. I was very skinny and I played as a shooting guard at that time.
Your father Borislav Vucevic (201-F-58) was a well known player who played in KK Bosna and Yugoslavian National team as well as abroad. He had a long career and even played at the Belgium League All Star game in his 40s. Did you see his basketball past as a burden for your basketball development or as a motivation to become even a better player?
He did not put any pressure on me. I told him that my wish was to play basketball and he replied that I was talented but I need to work a lot and make sacrifices to be successful. He warned me that I would not have the same life style as my friends if I wanted to be a good basketball player but I was motivated to give it a try. Both my mom and dad played basketball so after a while I realized basketball could be my profession.
As a high school student you were at the crossroads- what to do next? Not many people know that you actually went to Serbian team FMP Zeleznik for try-outs but at the end decided to go to a high school in America. Could you tell us more about that decision?
My first option was FMP Zeleznik. I did try-outs with them, for head coach Slobodan Klipa. They were interested in me but we did not reach agreement. At that time I head from a family friend Vito Dragovic whose son Nikola Dragovic (206-F-87, college: UCLA, agency: BeoBasket) played for UCLA that American basketball would be an option to consider. My dad liked the idea, we thought about it and decided to take a chance. Now I realize it was the best move for me and I am proud on my decision. I was also lucky to go to a good high school and later to a good college. I think that the US system can be very beneficial for our basketball players because between 300-400 NCAA colleges you can choose one that will give you a chance and help you improve.
From a small city like Bar you moved to a big state (California). You got a chance in a good school and after promoting yourself there you had another choice to make- finding the right college to continue your basketball development. How did that choice go?
I talked to my family. It was a hard decision to make, I did not have many offers though. The most serious offers were Nevada Reno and USC. There were some other schools that showed interest too. My first choice was Nevada but at the last minute I changed my mind and went to USC. It took me one month to make that decision. But it was the right decision. I had a chance to collaborate with good coaches and teammates, got a chance to play immediately. As a sophomore I started and played over 30 mins a game.
After your junior year you decided to apply for the NBA draft. You had one more year of eligibility. Why did you make that decision?
I thought the level I reached in college was good enough to try to fulfill my dream and play in the NBA. I made a big step forward in the final part of my junior year and it convinced my to try new challenges. I also knew that I was as good as any other post player in my draft class so it gave me confidence. My goal was to make to be a first round pick. I had work outs with 13 NBA teams, two work outs a day. The predictions were that I would be picked as a late first round pick or early second round. But after the work outs my chances got better and I was chosen by the 76ers as a first round draft pick.
You spent your rookie season with the 76ers. How did the team accept you as a rookie? It was a good year for me, I had ups and downs of course but I believe I had a good rookie season. The team was a mix or experienced and young players and they accepted me well, especially Andre Iguodala (198-SF-84, college: Arizona) who was the team captain and best players and he helped me a lot to adjust to the NBA level.
After the 76ers traded you to the Magic you came to a team that started a rebuilding phase. You got a chance immediately to show your worth as a started. How hard it was to adjust to a new role knowing that you were just a rotation player at the 76ers? I was not sure that I would be a starter. They had Gustavo Ayon (207-C/F-85, college: San Jose St.) as a center but I knew I could fight for the starting five position so I arrived earlier to Orlando, 20 days before the start of the training camp, and it helped me a lot. It was a big change for me. I was not one of the leaders because Orlando had Jameer Nelson (183-PG-82, college: St.Joseph's), Hedo Turkoglu (208-F-79), Glen Davis (206-F-86, college: LSU) etc but I played as the starting center and contributed to the team's results. The teammates and coaches believed in me and I started growing as a player during the season.
This season you were considered one of the elite centers in the NBA. During the summer there were rumors that you would move to a new club but it did not happen and you decided to stay in Orlando. Yes, the club brought few good players this summer and I believe we can make the play offs in the upcoming season. Of course we will need to work hard to do that but its my desire to reach the play offs with Orlando as I am now one of the most experienced players there and its my fifth year in Orlando.
You got a call from Montenegro National Team at the end of season and decided to play for your home country in the qualifications for the European Championship. Interestingly, the head coach of the National Team is Bogdan Tanjevic (agency: Interperformances ) who coached your father in Bosna long time ago. Do you feel honored to be coached by him? I did not have any doubts about that decision. Actually, I was looking forward to collaborate with coach Tanjevic. He helped us a lot because now we have good team chemistry and its very important for any team. We come to practices happy and he is a big reason why Montenegro had a successful campaign this summer and qualified for the European Championships. I am very glad I was a part of this team.
Thank you Nikola for the interview and good luck in the upcoming season.
Sloboda Uzice signs Pavle Roganovic - 16 hours ago
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21-year old Montenegrin Pavle Roganovic (95, college: High School). He played most recently at Meliksah in Turkish TB2L. Despite young age Roganovic had impressive career. Roganovic's team made it to the Montenegrin U19 Championships Semifinals in 2013. He was selected to Montenegrin U18 Championships All-Star Game back in 2013 at his college time. He was a member of Montenegrin U20 National Team last year. Roganovic has played also professionally in Montenegro (KK... [read more]
KK Sloboda Uzice signed 21-year old Montenegrin Pavle Roganovic (95, college: High School). He played most recently at Meliksah in Turkish TB2L. Despite young age Roganovic had impressive career. Roganovic's team made it to the Montenegrin U19 Championships Semifinals in 2013. He was selected to Montenegrin U18 Championships All-Star Game back in 2013 at his college time. He was a member of Montenegrin U20 National Team last year. Roganovic has played also professionally in Montenegro (KK ABS Primorje 1945 Herceg Novi). He attended High School until 2015 and it will be his second season as a professional player.
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