By Bugra Uzar/ email@example.com
Having made short work of Real Madrid in the quarterfinals with a rather impressive sweep, Fenerbahce is marching to a Euroleague Final Four for the second time in a row. Coach Obradovic‘s team is more determined and experienced compared to last year, and ready to make that extra step in the tournament.
Eurohoops spoke with Bogdan Bogdanovic during the media day of the team ahead of the Final Four about his personal performances, his affinity for buzzer beaters the fans of Fenerbahce and, of course, Zeljko Obradovic. The Serbian coach also revealed something that prevented him from reaching the desired form in the Eurobasket.,
You have been improved very much this year. You are more creative and designing more plays for your teammates. What is your secret?
I have no secret! I just work normal the whole year. Since I came year I always worked at the same level. As much as now. Nothing changed, but I believe in myself a lot. I have a lot of confidence.
Were you tired in the beginning of the season because of your participation in the Eurobasket?
Maybe nobody knows that, but I had some injury on my back from before the Eurobasket. I couldn’t even practice with my national team and I went to the tournament unprepared. And then, after the end of the Eurobasket, I needed to clear my thoughts in my mind in just a few days and then return to Fenerbahce. Everything was new in the team and at the same time, I had to improve. It was a difficult situation.
Fenerbahce this year looked more determined and tougher, in comparison to last season against Real Madrid. Did you see this qualification as a revenge of what happened in Madrid last year?
No I don’t see it like that. They were fair as our opponents. They were also fair last year. It’s not something personal against someone. They worked for doing their job and we worked to do ours. That’s it.
Of course, we played harder as you said. But that was just the playoffs. Now we have two more games to finish the Euroleague season. It’s all about that now.
You have been nailing it when it comes to buzzer beaters this year… even from half court. When you missed one sometime before the fans were a bit… disappointed! Do you practice on them?
Sometimes I throw the ball from very long range, yes. But it’s not something you can actually work on. When I was a kid and sometimes I pretended I am making the buzzer-beater play. I was saying “3, 2, 1… ” and then score! I did that many times. Even now I am doing that sometimes, but It’s not a part of a practice.
How is working with coach Zeljko Obradovic?
He is an unbelievable coach! I don’t know how to describe his job because he is unbelievable in every aspect of what he is doing and even in all part of the court. The whole experience with him is great.
You wore the jersey of Partizan before coming to Fenerbahce. Now that you have seen also Fenerbahce fans who are also great. What do you think of them?
Maybe the best game I ever played in front of the fans were these first two quarterfinal games against Real Madrid. Especially Game 2, where the atmosphere was incredible and the “miss it” signs under the baskets. Partizan had really good fans but the difference is that Turkey most fans don’t follow basketball much. They mainly follow football. And sometimes they didn’t know how to react in some calls of the referees and how to support their team in the best way they wanted. This year it was like they improved as well. It’s really hard to play here if you are an opponent.
What do you have to say about the recent decisions that FIBA has taken towards possibily suspending some important national teams, Serbia included, from the summer tournaments?
I read an interview of coach Obradovic where he said “If that happens, then the suspended national teams will organize an other tournament and it will be better” (laughs). For the players it would be better because if they suspend us… then we will have the summer off (laughs).