Iffe Lundberg: “Playing in the NBA was probably the biggest achievement of my career so far”

2022-10-02T09:58:53+00:00 2022-10-02T09:58:53+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

02/Oct/22 09:58


Iffe Lundberg came back to Europe after the NBA experience with the Phoenix Suns and joins a very talented Virtus Bologna guard package

By Cesare Milanti / info@eurohoops.net

Bologna, Italy – Before Iffe Lundberg was approached by CSKA Moscow at the beginning of 2021, he was one of the purest scorers of the VTB League with Zielona Gora. Despite some doubts about him belonging to the EuroLeague level, he then went on to become one of the most important players for Dimitris Itoudis, eventually convincing the Phoenix Suns on giving him an NBA opportunity.

Now, the Danish superstar has come back to Europe to begin a new chapter with Virtus Bologna, where he will find two old friends in the locker room: Toko Shengelia and Daniel Hackett. “It definitely helps to come into a new environment where you have similar faces who can show you what to expect just from a team, city, fans, and club environment, other than perspective. It has helped a lot. When they saw that I was in talks with the club they reached out to me, asking if it was true. Also, if it were to happen, what I should expect just by living here? So far it’s been really really nice”, he said in an exclusive interview with Eurohoops.

Both in the Euroleague and in the Italian championship he will find another representative of the Danish national team like Shavon Shields, with whom he shared the court as teammates only once.

“If Shavon and I were to play together for the Danish national team, I think that would be very scary. We’ve only played one game together and it was really fun to play. I think our potential was on a showcase”, he said about the 94-98 victory against Belarus, in which Shields and Lundberg combined for 53 points.

“Obviously, he’s a good player and I think I’m pretty good too, so it would be very nice to try and have that opportunity for a longer period of time. But playing in the EuroLeague makes it tough, because of the schedule with the national team windows and all of that stuff. But if it were to happen, it would be very nice”, he added.

Just like when he arrived at CSKA Moscow, he will find a good amount of competition in his position with combo-guards like Daniel Hackett, Milos Teodosic, and Nico Mannion, other than specialists like Marco Belinelli and Alessandro Pajola. But he doesn’t seem to fear competition: “You always want to be in a situation when there’s healthy competition. Because you’re never too settled, comfortable, or satisfied and you always have to work hard to get what’s yours. I like it and if it can make me an even better player, I will embrace it”.

For sure, Sergio Scariolo will need a lot of elements in good shape in order to face all the competitions in a long and intense season. The Spanish national team head coach has been one of the reasons why Gabriel Iffe Lundberg decided to sign with Virtus. He appreciates his philosophy and style of basketball, so he enjoyed watching Spain go all the way to the EuroBasket gold medal. “As a basketball fan first and foremost, I’ve watched Spain play over the past recent years, and of course, they’ve been there for quite a while. Especially with the team that they have this year where they didn’t have a main star player, it was more team-oriented and so you saw how every player embraced his role”, he said.

Lundberg, just like Kyle Weems and Toko Shengelia, had nothing but great words for his new squad: “They just fought for the team, and I think this particular team this year will be quite similar: we have many many talented players on this team and at the end of the day everybody has to sacrifice something for the benefit of the team and for the greater good. I think the sky’s the limit for us to be honest and we just have to take it day by day, because we are a new group, the coach has only been here for a few days and it looks pretty good”.

Finally, the Danish superstar talked about his NBA experience with the Phoenix Suns. He stepped into the court only on four occasions, averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 assists per game, but his eyes still shine when he’s talking about it. “It was very nice, it was awesome. For me, coming from Denmark and being the first one to do it ever it’s something that I’m really proud of: probably it’s the biggest achievement of my career so far”, he said, while keeping the door open for the future.

“If I have the opportunity to do it at some point again in the future, will I do it? I have no idea. We have to see which situation I’m in. But of course, it’s something that I will consider because I always consider all of my options”, he added.