Fear the Dinosaur!

2014-12-10T20:44:13+00:00 2015-05-24T20:27:21+00:00.

Aris Barkas

10/Dec/14 20:44


During the last three years the mobile undersized centers the trend. But there is an old-fashioned giant who insists that basketball is the sport of the tall guys. Boban Marjanovic destroys everything is his break-out season and talks to Eurohoops

By Lefteris Moutis/ moutis@eurohoops.net

Basketball is changing. During the last three years the mobile undersized centers the trend. But there is an old-fashioned giant who insists that basketball is the sport of the tall guys. Boban Marjanovic destroys everything is his break-out season with Crvena Zvezda and talks on Eurohoops.

Some years ago every team had in its roster a “7footer” who was usually the cornerstone of the plays; but not any more. Few old school centers compete in the highest European level because the majority of the Euroleague teams prefer players in the mold of Kyle Hines, Stephane Lasme or Bryant Dunston.

As prominent agent Misko Raznatovic said a couple of weeks ago, “there are many parents who come to me and tell me that their 15-year old son is 215 centimeters tall and invite me to watch him playing. But I answer them that I’m not interested any more. The basketball needs quick and mobile players”. Of course in this “law” there are exceptions (like Ante Tomic). This season Boban Marjanovic proves that there is still room for “vintage centers” who look like giants but on the same time are quick enough to adjust to the new era.

Marjanovic has a 25.5 ranking with 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in Euroleague and he is first in ranking, rebounds, 2ps made and 5th in scoring in the season. But the most outstanding fact is that he has the biggest ranking per game during the last decade among centers! The last one who had bigger numbers was Dejan Milojevic of Partizan ten years ago. The amazing fact is that Milojevic worked with Marjanovic in his moves in 2012-13 when they worked together in Mega Vizura! However, Marjanovic has this brilliant season when everybody in Europe believed that “giants” aren’t effective any more in basketball and any team must have in its roster undersized mobile players.

The 26year-old Serbian doesn’t care about the fashion in centers. “This is my way. I help my team to win the games and I want to thank my teammates because nobody can play basketball alone. The most important think in basketball is to have good teammates. And I have. Basketball is not like tennis”.

This season Marjanovic has made five times double-double in eight games and he proves that he can adjust against any type of opponent. Which is his secret for this kind of stability? “I can say I’m the right moment in the right place. I feel very well, have confidence and the right mentality. Also, all the players of Crvena Zvezda help me to do that every night”.

In his rookie Euroleague season, four years ago, Boban played under Vujocevic in CSKA and he was average. Which is his main advantage now and looks invincible? “Of course it’s my height. But I work really hard on my moves and I try to get stronger and stronger. It’s not easy to play like this in my height but I can run and be effective”.

He’s 26 years old and according to the “basketball law” that says “big men grow up later than the other players”, Marjanovic is still too young to make the jump to the NBA. But is he interested? “No. Now I have in my mind only the next four months until the end of the season. I want to improve my game and keep winning with Crvena Zvezda”.

We reminded to Boban the NBA rule of the 3’’ violation in the defence and he laughed. Not only because his 3-year old child was playing with him all the time during the interview but also because he was ready to “block” us: “No. I don’t have in mind all these. Don’t forget, we are in Europe. This is only for the NBA”.

We also asked him about his height (221 centimetres). Which is the strangest situation that he faces every day because of that? “I can’t hide myself (laughs). Everybody can watch me everywhere and many people ask me to take a picture even if they don’t know me at all. I have met many who know nothing about basketball and ask me in which team I play for and how tall am I”.

Meanwhile, Crvena Zvezda travels to Greece to play against Olympiacos in order to secure the second place of the group. But the “talk of the town” in Belgrade and Piraeus all these days is the atmosphere of the game in SEF. One month ago in “Kombank Arena” all the fans were signing the anthems and were cheering for both teams. Is this game something special also for Boban? “Everybody is anxious for this game. We hope we will face the same atmosphere like there was in Belgrade. All that happens between Olympiacos and Crvena Zvezda is something unique in Europe. It’s really nice that our fans are like brothers with Olympiacos fans. There is love between them and I hope to have a good game. During the game we must forget the celebrations and be serious”.

Yesterday it was announced the disciplinary sanction for Galatasaray and Crevna Zvezda because of the fights that caused the death of Marko Ivkovic. How did Boban feel after all? How bad is when politics invade to basketball and cause something like that? “I’m really sorry of what happened. And I feel sorry also that happened before a basketball game. It was something new for basketball. I didn’t know that during our game against Galatasaray and it was very painful for us when we heard it. We were informed that he was a very good and quiet guy”.