Cao to all my good people out here in Montenegro and hello Eurobasket. Sorry I havent blogged in a couple of weeks, I have been really busy or too tired to even think about blogging. Well let me tell you how team IBAR is doing so far being that its the clubs first time competing in the top league A1 League. After the first 5 games of the season, we are now 2-3 tied for 5th place with three other clubs. Lately we've won two games in a row one of those wins was against Lovcen at home in the first round of the Montenegro cup games, as a team we played great together a lot of my teammates really stepped up on the defensive end and made shots. Lately most of the teams are now doubling me or sending two defenders at me soon as I cross half court and when my teammates step up like they did it will be pretty tough trying to beat us, especially at home in Rozaje. For the fans, this was the first time I have seen our fans come out in full force to support what we have here in Rozaje.
I can say for myself that they are one of the main reasons why we pulled off the upset over Lovcen. And just a few days later we had our 5th league game at home against KK Center (thats like a rivalry game since we are just a hour apart from each other. The fans really packed the house that night). Center gave us a pretty tough game since they still had no wins under their belt coming in. It took us until the late 4th quarter to put them away for good, but it was a really great game. The fans were just awesome. I have never seen anything like it. They were chanting my name during the game (that had me fired up).
After the game it was like a big party outside the gym. All of the fans stayed until we came out of the locker room to show us even more support and love, they even picked me up and carried me around the parking lot for a few seconds (at that moment I really felt like a rock star lol). That one moment was something I will never forget in my life.
In the meantime Im currently still leading the league in scoring and in index points. In 5 games Im averaging 30.6mpg 22.5ppg 2.2apg 2spg and shooting a blazing shooting percentage from the field. 2ptFG 63.4% (26/41) 3ptFG 55% (11/20) FT 78.1% (25/32) Im a true believer in hard work and I can tell that it is paying off. All of those 4am wake up calls, heading to the gym while most players are probably still asleep, at the gym working on my game putting up game like shots are all paying off. I take a lot of pride in shooting and ball handling drills because as a guard if you can master both of those you will most likely always have a job playing somewhere on a professional team. You tell me, who wouldn't want a player that can knock down shots and handle the rock? To me thats a dream playmaker to have on the roster.
Before I go I want to say Happy early Thanksgiving to my family and friends back home in America and a special s/o to my home town Rosharon, Texas. I hope you all enjoy and have a safe holiday. Dont worry about me the only thing I will be missing and wanting is the honey roasted ham and turkey legs with my grandmas favorite dressing mmmmm! Yall just dont know thats some good eating, but I will be here in Montenegro grinding as usual.
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 - 19 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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