By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharing his view on the story behind the new two-year contract with Partizan Mozzart Bet in late June, Kevin Punter opened up on the source of the desire to keep playing for the Belgrade giant.
Punter, 30, considered offers from other teams but ultimately decided to stay with Partizan.
“I felt the clock ticking,” he told Mozzart Sport on re-signing with Partizan, “Maybe it is crazy, but in the end, I listened to my heart. Really, it was like that. I remember deciding at midnight. I texted my agent after he asked me if I was sure, he told them I was sure, and that was it.”
Rewinding to the 2023 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs and the eventful best-of-five series opposite Real Madrid, he reiterated the opinion spread around most of the Partizan group.
“If that fight did not happen, If I had not been suspended, if some other things did not happen, Partizan would be in the Final Four,” underlined Punter referring to the incidents marking Game 2, after his side secured a second straight win in the capital of Spain, “Madrid was finished. We had beat them.”
“Everything annoyed me”
The discussion extended to the humble starts in Europe, at the top of his professional career.
“I was supposed to be an NBA player,” Punter recalled the injury preventing him from making it to the NBA, after the NCAA stint with Tennessee, “Everything happened so fast. The key was the love for basketball. I love the game so much, that is why I did not give up.”
“My first time outside the United States, everything bothered me. The new culture, the different style of basketball, even the smells in the air. Everything annoyed me. But as time went by, I got used to it,” he added, “New challenges came and I accepted them. I grew as a player and person.”
The explosive shooting guard has evolved into a veteran of 96 appearances in EuroLeague, since breaking out in the top-tier club continental competition of Europe in 2019. The earlier stages of his career featured 42 games played in the Basketball Champions League, including two championships with Virtus Segafredo Bologna and AEK.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net