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Montenegro Internationally

Darko Pekic

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Erste Liga Standings
 1. Teodo Tivat 19-3 
 2. Lovcen 16-8 
 3. Ibar Rozaje 16-8 
 4. Sutjeska 15-9 
 5. Ulcinj 13-11 
 6. S.Centar 9-14 
 7. Jedinstvo 8-16 
 8. Danilovgrad 6-18 
 9. Primorje 1945 4-20 
Play in international cups:
 1. Buducnost
 2. Mornar Bar
Prva B Standings
 1. Berane Bobcats 12-4 
 2. Centar BP 8-8 
 3. Zeta 8-8 
 4. Rudar 6-10 
 5. Strsljen 6-10 
Eurocup Standings
Group A
 1. Andorra 0-0 
 2. Cedevita 0-0 
 3. Darussafaka 0-0 
 4. Fiat TO 0-0 
 5. Paris-Levallois 0-0 
 6. Unics 0-0 
Group B
 1. B.Muenchen 0-0 
 2. Buducnost 0-0 
 3. Galatasaray 0-0 
 4. Grissin Bon RE 0-0 
 5. Hapoel J-M 0-0 
 6. Lietkabelis 0-0 
Group C
 1. ALBA 0-0 
 2. Lietuvos rytas 0-0 
 3. Limoges 0-0 
 4. Lokomotiv 0-0 
 5. Partizan NIS 0-0 
 6. RETAbet BB 0-0 
Group D
 1. ASVEL 0-0 
 2. Dolomiti En. TR 0-0 
 3. Gran Canaria 0-0 
 4. Ratiopharm 0-0 
 5. Tofas 0-0 
 6. Zenit 0-0 
Basketball Champions League Standings
Group A
 1. Banco di Srd 0-0 
 2. Enisey 0-0 
 3. EWE Baskets 0-0 
 4. Hapoel Holon 0-0 
 5. Monaco 0-0 
 6. UCAM Murcia 0-0 
Group B
 1. Chalon 0-0 
 2. Gaziantep 0-0 
 3. Iberostar Tener. 0-0 
 4. Neptunas 0-0 
 5. PAOK 0-0 
 6. Ventspils 0-0 
Group C
 1. AEK 0-0 
 2. Banvit BK 0-0 
 3. Bayreuth 0-0 
 4. Strasbourg 0-0 
 5. Umana VE 0-0 
 6. Un.Olimpija 0-0 
Group D
 1. Aris 0-0 
 2. Besiktas 0-0 
 3. CEZ Nymburk 0-0 
 4. Oostende 0-0 
 5. Scandone AV 0-0 
 6. Stelmet 0-0 
ABA League
 1. Buducnost 0-0 
 2. Cedevita 0-0 
 3. Cibona 0-0 
 4. Crvena Zvezda 0-0 
 5. FMP 0-0 
 6. Igokea 0-0 
 7. Mega Bemax 0-0 
 8. Mornar Bar 0-0 
 9. MZT Skopje 0-0 
 10. Partizan NIS 0-0 
 11. Un.Olimpija 0-0 
 12. Zadar 0-0 
Balkan League Standings
 1. Akademik PL 0-0 
 2. Bashkimi 0-0 
 3. Beroe 0-0 
 4. Blokotehna 0-0 
 5. Ibar Rozaje 0-0 
 6. Kumanovo 0-0 
 7. Levski 2014 0-0 
 8. SK Tirana 0-0 
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
  Avg: 19
 1. Koljevic, S.Centar19.0 
 2. Knezevic, Lovcen17.7 
 3. Bogojevic, S.Centar17.1 
 4. Latkovic, Lovcen16.7 
 5. Hadzibegovic, Danilovg.16.4 
 6. Draskovic, Jedin.16.0 
 7. Lekovic, Jedinstvo15.3 
 8. Ratkovic, Danilovgrad15.1 
 9. Salic, Sutjeska14.9 
 10. Bacovic, Primorje.14.2 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 10
 1. Lopicic, Lovcen10.0 
 2. Hadzibegovic, Danilovg.9.6 
 3. Jocovic, Primorje.9.5 
 4. Draskovic, Jedin.8.2 
 5. Ljujic, Ibar Rozaje8.0 
 6. Knezevic, Jedinstvo7.2 
 7. Bacovic, Primorje.7.0 
 8. Popovic, Teodo T.7.0 
 9. Cekic, S.Centar6.7 
 10. Knezevic, Lovcen6.6 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 5.9
 1. Latkovic, Lovcen5.9 
 2. Stanojevic, Teodo T.5.3 
 3. Ratkovic, Danilovgrad4.5 
 4. Kalic, Ibar Rozaje4.3 
 5. Jovanovic, Lovcen3.7 
 6. Fisik, Jedinstvo3.5 
 7. James, Sutjeska3.4 
 8. Nurkovic, Ibar R.3.1 
 9. Djurisic, Teodo Tivat2.9 
 10. Bogojevic, S.Centar2.9 
Steals Per Game
  Avg: 2.6
 1. Latkovic, Lovcen2.6 
 2. Stanojevic, Teodo T.2.0 
 3. Ratkovic, Danilovgrad2.0 
 4. Lalic, Sutjeska1.9 
 5. Hadzibegovic, Danilovg.1.9 
 6. Ivanovic, Danilovgrad1.8 
 7. Koljevic, S.Centar1.7 
 8. Djokovic, Sutjeska1.6 
 9. Kalic, Ibar Rozaje1.5 
 10. Draskovic, Jedin.1.5 
Blocks Per Game
  Ibar Rozaje
  Avg: 2.2
 1. Ljujic, Ibar Rozaje2.2 
 2. Cekic, S.Centar1.4 
 3. Vujovic, Sutjeska1.3 
 4. Draskovic, Jedin.1.1 
 5. Lopicic, Lovcen0.9 
 6. Hadzibegovic, Danilovg.0.7 
 7. Salic, Sutjeska0.6 
 8. Marojevic, Teodo T.0.5 
 9. Rondovic, Ibar R.0.5 
 10. Jeknic, Ulcinj0.5 

First Round Schedule
Group A
Cedevita 57% Oct.11 Fiat TO
Andorra 57% Oct.11 Unics
Paris-Levall 57% Oct.11 Darussafaka
Group B
Buducnost 57% Oct.11 Grissin Bon
Galatasaray 57% Oct.11 B.Muenchen
Lietkabelis 57% Oct.11 Hapoel J-M
Group C
Limoges 57% Oct.11 Lokomotiv
ALBA 57% Oct.11 Partizan NI
Lietuvos ryt 57% Oct.11 RETAbet BB
Group D
Ratiopharm 57% Oct.11 Tofas
Gran Canaria 57% Oct.11 Zenit
Dolomiti En 57% Oct.11 ASVEL
Check Full Games/Schedule
Next Round Schedule

Round 2 (Qualifying Round)

Joventut 97% Sep.21 Din.Tbilisi
Avtodor 99% Sep.21 Keravnos
Ludwigsburg 97% Sep.21 Bosna-Royal
Kalev/Cramo 50% Sep.21 Karpos Sokol
Vytautas 96% Sep.21 Groningen
Tsmoki-Minsk 97% Sep.21 Sigal Prisht
Benfica 98% Sep.21 Kapfenberg
Antwerp 99% Sep.21 BC Lulea
First Round Schedule
Crvena Zvezd 54% Sep.29 Mornar Bar
Mega Bemax 54% Sep.29 Cibona
Un.Olimpija 58% Sep.29 Igokea
Buducnost 55% Sep.29 Zadar
Cedevita 58% Sep.29 FMP
MZT Skopje 54% Sep.29 Partizan NI
Check Full Games/Schedule
First Round Schedule
Levski 2014 50% Oct.11 Kumanovo
Blokotehna 50% Oct.10 SK Tirana
Ibar Rozaje 50% Oct.10 Akademik PL
Check Full Games/Schedule
Exclusive New Year Interview with Soumaila Samake, former NBA center and big man of Mornar Bar - Dec 31, 2015

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Soumaila Samake (215-C-78) is a center from Mali, Africa, who started his professional career in Slovenia and reached the heights of NBA stardom, playing alongside Kobe Bryant (198-SG-78) in the Lakers. His career is also linked to Montenegro so take a look at this motivational story that proves once again how nothing is impossible,

Hello Soumaila, you took a very interesting basketball road. Born in Mali you were the first player from your country to get international recognition. Now players like Cheick Diallo (206-C/F-96) are following your footsteps. Could you tell us more about your childhood in Mali and how did you fall in love with basketball?

I Indeed I took a very interesting basketball road; especially if you look as far back as my childhood in Mali, which has absolutely no predictor that I will be a basketball player despite my God given gift of height.

As you know, Mali is a third world country in west Africa where soccer is the dominant sport perhaps because it requires minimum resources to be played; all you need is something round shaped like a ball. Basketball on the other hand, requires a lot more in term of resources and is a far less popular sport, which is mostly played in the capital, Bamako, and a little bit in few other regions of the country. I was born and raised in Bougouni, a rural locality of Mali located a little less than 200 Km from Bamako. Most of childhood was spent going to school, farming a lot, and playing soccer or other games with friends. Basketball was no part at all of my life or the life of other kids from Bougouni and I had never seen basketball being played until my teenager years when I finished secondary school and was sent to Bamako to continue studying.

My family did not have much financial means and in Bamako I was hosted by my sister (cousin) and was attending school and also working at the local market as a helper pushing shopping carts for some modest change. The market was located near the main athletic complex of the country where were located the only indoor basketball stadium of the country at the time, and outdoor practice courts for the top teams in the country. Working at this market was the turning point of my life as many people appeared impressed or amazed with my height and asked why I was not playing basketball. It is also that time that I met some very good friends who were very into basketball and wanted to try to teach me some basic skills. I then started venturing more often into the sport complex after a long day of school and work at the market to learn to play basketball. Of course, I quickly realized that my height could be a blessing in this sport when a local coach and very good friend named Serime dedicated his time in trying to develop my skills. He had very limited resources himself, but he was committed to helping me learn this game that I was starting almost too late; like many, he thought with hard work I could change my life playing basketball.

Well, it did not take too long for the first signs of a life changing opportunity to show. Only a year after I was first introduced to basketball, I drew the attention of one of the elite team, Stade Malien, which practiced in the sport complex. They asked me to join their junior team and started working more aggressively to develop my skills. This was the real beginning of my life as a basketball player, and from that point it was more better and better opportunities... with first international exposure coming through the junior national team of Mali the same year that I joined State Malien.

So yes, I took a very interesting basketball road, and as you can see from the little snapshot of my childhood, I could not have dreamed to be the first player from Mali to get international recognition. I am very blessed to have had the opportunities and I believe by being the first to achieve a certain level, my experience has directly or indirectly impacted many young athletes from Mali. It drew the attention of international basketball scout toward Mali and also inspired I hope many young kids to want to do as well or better than me. As I look back, Mali have had many outstanding international basketball players, both males and females, since my journey began and I hope that trend continues.

Today, when you look at guys like Cheick Diallo and others upcoming athletes that I believe would accomplish far more than I did, it shows you how far along Mali has come on the international scene and makes younger guys understand that everything is possible when you make the most of your opportunities. It is great for Basketball but it is even greater for MALI !!!!

The first stop on you basketball journey was a small basketball club Idrija from Slovenia. You joined them in 1996. How did you get a chance to play in Slovenia and was it a cultural shock at that time?

As I mentioned earlier, it did not take too long in my early days of playing basketball to join the junior national team of Mali; this was really my ticket to Slovenia. During the early 1990s, Mali was not very well known by international recruiters in basketball. Travels by teams, including junior and senior national teams, were for the most part limited to regional tournaments and, if qualified, to the African Championship that takes place every two years. However, this began to change in the mid 1990s when the junior national team started getting invitation to participate in tournament in France. It is during my first travel with the junior travel to France that I was approached by recruiters from Olimpija Ljubljana who asked me if I would be interested in playing in Slovenia. Shortly after the tournament and the return of the junior national team to Mali, I was on my way to Slovenia through Olimpija Ljubljana; to make a long story short, It is Olimpija that 'loaned' me to Idrija.

Slovenia was a real cultural shock at that time for many reasons. As you know, before going to Slovenia I had not really travelled much outside Africa, which is mostly not a cultural or racial difference from Mali; only that one short trip to France, but french is our official language in Mali. In Slovenia, however, everything was just different and I mean very very different from Mali in all aspects. One of the most difficult thing was making the language and diet adjustment, but I had to adjust very quickly to be able to achieve my goals and make the most of the opportunity. At the end I was able to quickly learn the language by taking private courses and I truly believe that this first step in my career was the most challenging one. However, I also believe that it prepared me psychologically for the remaining of my international career and my ability to adapt culturally to the many places I visited during my journey.

After a season with Idrija you joined a bigger club, Slovan Ljubljana and stayed there for two seasons and there you got noticed by NBA scouts and moved to United States to prepare for the 2000 NBA draft. How did playing few seasons of professional basketball in Slovenia affect you as a player? Did you consider yourself ready for NBA draft?

Playing few seasons in Slovenia was very instrumental in my basketball career. When I arrived in Slovenia, I had only played basketball for a few years and did not really have much skills. In retrospect, that was perhaps a good thing, because I did not have much of a bad habit and was able to learn the game the right way. Obviously being very tall and athletic, I was a great potential at the center position and there were no better place than Slovenia to develop the skills I needed. I spend tremendous amount of time working on all aspect of the game, from shooting, to moving without the ball, to using both left and right hands jump hook . even ball handling. So yes, I did consider myself ready for the NBA when it comes to my skill sets. But I was also aware of the fact that the NBA was another level and different than the style of basketball in Slovenia; given that I had only played basketball for a few year, I knew that I would need to continue developing both my skills and physically if drafted in the NBA.

At the draft night former New Jersey Nets selected you at draft pick number 36. You were better placed than some well known names in European basketball in later years: Igor Rakocevic (191-G-78), James Penn (178-PG-77, college: Ohio St.) or Pete Mickeal (199-F-78, college: Cincinnati, agency: Tycoon Sports Inc.). Could you tell us how did you feel that night knowing that you would be the first ever Mali player to represent your country in the NBA?

Draft night was a very the most memorable moment in my life. It was unbelievable to be drafted in the most dominant and advertised basketball league in the world. Yes, I was drafted before some of the more known names in both european and US collegiate basketball, but that was not really all that important to me. What really mattered is that a young man from a very rural part of one of the poorest country in the world was about to join the major league of the richest country in the world. It was not something I could have ever dreamed of and I am sure many asked themselve that night the following question: Where in the world is MALI? And that was important to me that night of course I was also thinking about my family back home and what I would be able to do to help them now.

You played for Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers and after two years in NBA you moved to China where you spent most part of your career. What did you like most about playing in China?

What I like most about playing in China was the people and their passion for basketball; the Chinese people really love basketball! Playing in the NBA I was already aware of how international and global the sport of basketball was, but I was still amazed by the interest and passion that the Chinese people had for the sport. I remember every game so many fans coming, sometime in very cold gymnasium, and cheering with such great passion for their teams. I also want to mention how humble people are in China, and that was everyone that I met from regular citizens to basketball stars, all were very nice and humble; I appreciated that. Great Place! Great People!

In March 2010 you joined Mornar from Bar and played for them in Montenegrin league and Balkan league. You made it to the Semifinals of Montenegro league and you showed your class even though you were already a veteran. Why you decided to move to Montenegro at that point of your career?

Going to Montenegro was just an opportunity that came up, which I welcome very much. I decided to move to Montenegro because I had already spend a lot of time in China and I was edging toward the last stretch of my career, so going back close to where it all started sounded good to me. I did not expect it to be any different than Slovenia in term of style of basketball and wanted to see how I will do in the Montenegrin League.

Knowing that Slovenia and Montenegro were part of former Yugoslavia it was not probably hard for you to adapt to the living conditions and language barrier. What are your impressions from Montenegro?

You are absolutely right that adapting in Montenegro was not hard for me giving their historic relationship with Slovenia. In fact, there were not much to adapt for me and it felt almost like a homecoming. You know, wherever I have been it is really the people that I enjoyed the most. And Montenegro was not any different, people were very welcoming and nice to me. Sports is one of the best way to break all barriers in my opinion; whether it is barriers between races, countries, cultures, or even religions, sports just seem to bring people together and that is very nice I think.

After playing two more seasons in Iran and Canada you decided to retire at the end of 2011. Did you feel it was perfect time to call it the end at the age of 34?

Yes, I did feel it was the perfect time to end. As you know, I had been doing a lot of travel around the world during my basketball career, flying in very tight airplane seats for some time more than 10 hours, sleeping in hotel beds that were not even close in length to my height, eating out almost every day, etc. Although all this is nothing compared to some of the conditions that I lived while growing up in MALI, it start taking a physical and even a psychological toll on you as you get older. I was blessed and very thankful that throughout my career to that point, I never had any major injury, and looking at the direction that my career was taking I felt that it was time to end while healthy and enjoy a more stable lifestyle.

How did your organize your free time after retirement and does Soumaila Samake have plans to stay inside basketball world?

After retiring, I took some time to relax and figure out what is next for me. I have two great sons that I now have a better relationship with, which is probably the most important thing to me. Of course at 34, I also need to find something else that I could do for income and one of the thing that I always wanted to do is start a trucking business in the US. So right now, I am driving a huge 18-wheeler interstate in the US and plan to start my own trucking company in 2017. What is interesting about this is that I would not have ever dream of driving or owning a car in my life had not been for basketball. So yes, I do plan to stay inside the basketball world. I don't even thing it is a choice since all my good and closest friends were met through basketball, and almost all my former teammates in MALI are basketball coaches; whether it is local teams or national teams. I follow the NBA on a daily basis and I look forward to seeing another player from MALI step in this great league and I believe that will be very soon with talented guys like Cheik Diallo and his generation.

Thank you for this interview Soumaila. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours.

Thank you very much for an opportunity to tell my story. And a special thanks to all the great and helpful people that I met throughout my career way too many to name.   

ABA League SuperCup: Buducnost better Cibona to enter semis - 1 hour ago
Buducnost - Cibona 96:90 Buducnost reached the semifinal stage of the ABA League SuperCup. They topped Cibona in Bar tonight. Nikola Ivanovic (190-PG-94, agency: BeoBasket) scored 19 points to lead the Montenegrin side. Buducnost erupted for 27 points in the first period and opened a 6-point lead. Cibona dropped 28 points in the second term to eke out a 49:47 halftime advantage. Cibona added 23 points in the third term to secure a 5-point lead at the final break. However Buducnost found...   [read more]

Staphon Blair (ex Aalstar) signs at Ibar Rozaje - 1 day ago
KK Ibar Rozaje (Erste Liga) landed 24-year old American forward Staphon Blair (206-118kg-93, college: Cent.Florida). He played most recently at Crelan Okapi Aalstar in Belgian Euromillions League. In 31 games he averaged just 2.2ppg and 2.0rpg last season. Blair has played also professionally in ABL (Orlando Whalers). He attended University of Central Florida until 2016 and it will be his second season in pro basketball. KK Ibar Rozaje roster for 2017-2018: Guard: Christavious Gill For...   [read more]

Vestri tabs Nemanja Knezevic - 2 days ago
Vestri (D1) inked 30-year old Montenegrin forward Nemanja Knezevic (203-87). The last time (14-15) he played at Mladost in Bosnia and Herzegovina Division I. Among other achievements Knezevic received All-Serbian B League Forward of the Year award back in 2011. He is a very experienced player. Knezevic has played also professionally in Spain (Association Baloncesto Pacense Badajoz), Serbia (Vojvodina Srbijagas, KK Vojvodina Novi Sad and Radnicki) and Montenegro (Jedinstvo a...   [read more]

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