By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
During the previous days, Bogdan Bogdanovic’s status ahead of the game between Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes for the 28th round of the EuroLeague regular season at the latter’s home court was “doubtful” at best. He was ultimately registered for the match but remained a decision for the very last second.
The starting squad was without the Serbian guard and it quickly became obvious how much he was needed. Watching his players falling behind 48 – 37 two minutes in the second half, Zeljko Obradovic finally called Bogdanovic, one of his most prominent “go-to-guys”, from the bench to resolve some major offensive issues that were plaguing the short-handed Fener. Bogdan delivered with 16 points (4/5 from the field, 6/7 from the line) and 4 assists in 16 (!) minutes he spent on the floor, remedying his team’ maladies well enough to make it a one-possession matter down the last stretch.
In the end, Efes prevailed but Bogdanovic’s self-sacrificing decision to make himself available, even though far from 100% ready, was arguably remarkable. Even Obradovic, who is not really known for being easily impressed, agreed.
“Bogdan’s performance was a big surprise to us,” he said. “He played almost without practicing. For me it was a big surprise because Bogdan really insisted to play even without almost any practice.”
Bogdanovic hurt his ankle in the last moments of the first quarter between Brose Bamberg – Fenerbahce, almost a week ago. It was painful and not only in a physical sense. The 24-year-player had also suffered an ankle injury on late October, which forced him to sit out the larger part of the EuroLeague regular season first leg.
You can easily understand how much it bruised him to once again enter a state of simply watching from the sidelines. Especially tonight (23/1), when his teammates were fighting a battle against many odds.
In light of Kostas Sloukas‘ absence and the blow with Luigi Datome‘s recent shoulder problem, the Turkish league defending champs had entered the match vs Efes short of quality backcourt and wing options.
Hence the insistence of Bogdanovic to jump in and bring some of his mojo to an offense that looked out of sync in the first 25 minutes. A determination which brought us Obradovic’s above comments that subtly hid more praise than what the experienced coach allowed to be let out.
“We tried throughout the game to find the rhythm, to come back in the game,” Zoc also said. “Finally we found it, but in the last two offenses we played and handled it very badly. This is a very important part of the game; something similar happened against Maccabi. So we really must understand why. It’s obvious that our rotation is very, let’s say, short because of the situation we have with some players.”