Svetozar Stamenkovic spoke exclusively on Jumpshot about A2 League in Greece, the series about Karditsa and Iraklis, for how Serbians prepare a young player to play in a big level and also for Olympiakos and ABA League.
Stamenkovic is a Serbian power forward (also play all around) who came in the middle of the season and helped Kastoria achieve their goals. He played for Red Star and for U18 with the national team. Also, he faced Kyrie Irving.
This season he averages 11.6 points with 36.6% behind the three point line and he racks up 4.6 rebounds.
About the series with Karditsa: «The games were tough. I remember from the last match we played against them that they wanted to win us and they had a good atmosphere. Then, we knew that the series was gonna be tough and we had to face the sixth player, their fans. But we wanted to play our game and enforce our rhythm. So, we won in Karditsa and we couldn’t lose in our home, in a great atmosphere».
About Iraklis: «We don’t have any pressure for this match. Iraklis is a big club, with history so we will go in Thessaloniki without pressure. We achieved our goals and now Iraklis I believe has the pressure. We will go there to play our basketball, not to be part in their celebrations. We will not give up. We played a lot of times this season with a big club and we know how to face this situation. Also, we have a competitive spirit and I am happy for this».
About him and how he took the decision to come in Kastoria: «Look! I started this year in a history club in Serbia but I got heavily sick for 2 months. So, when the time was over I wasn’t feeling ready to play and I wanted to rest. That time, my manager called me and told me that a team from Greece wanted me. But, I spoke seriously with another team but we didn’t have the same goals. Big part in my decision played my love for Greece, it’s like my second home. So, I said «yes». We had big goals with Kastoria and I liked it».
About the differences between the Greek league and the rest of the leagues: «Greek league is incredibly tough. You can see teams that don’t have star quality players but their toughness and energy is unbelievable».
About the quality of A2: «It’s very high. For example, I remember I was watching Mavrokefalidis on TV and now I played against him. It’s crazy. You say to everyone that it’s the second tier league but I think that it might be even better than A1. If someone thinks it’s easy, he shall come and play».
About the differences and similarities between Greek and Serbian basketball: «Well the first thing is that we both love basketball. We are crazy about it. The second one is the way we treat basketball. The differences pertain to player and player. But in general, we have many common elements».
And he adds: «You are right that Spanish basketball is different from ours. We play sensible basketball, watch Bodiroga for example».
About how he was preparing for high level basketball, as a kid from Serbia: «I’ll tell you about me. I left my home when I was 15 to go to Red Star while leaving me family, friends, everything. For me though there was nothing else except basketball. It’s my big love. In Serbia we have everything, the best gyms, stadiums, coaches. That’s the price. You leave everything behind in a young age to learn basketball. You have to face many talents so they come and watch you often».
About Vasilije Micic: «Even though his team was defeated by CSKA, Vasilije is a very good player and human being. I played besides him and I’m very happy about his progress, he deserves everything he has achieved».
About having taken some wrong decisions: «Look, I carry a lot of injuries. In Red Star I had a cruciate ligament injury and doctors were saying to me that I would not be able to play again. I started going to the gym for empowerment. But yeah, I have taken wrong decisions. I think I’ve taken more in contrast with other players but that’s how you learn. However, now I’m very happy being in Kastoria. If it was summer and you told me that in winter I would be in Greece and Kastoria I’d answer that you are crazy. That’s how life is though».
About Olympiakos and Adriatic League: «Maccabi has also played two times in this league. If it is positive for Adriatic League, Olympiakos should come. But that wouldn’t be good for Greek basketball. You can’t have Red Star without Partizan and you can’t have Panathinaikos without Olympiakos, and the reverse. I don’t know what will happen but it’s really crazy».
About the situation in Greek basketball: «I really though that in Serbia things were tragic but here it’s even worse».
About his future: «I haven’t spoken with anyone but I am grateful to everyone here, the chairman, the coach, my teammates, everyone. I’ll go home to get some rest, to cool down and study every offer calmly. I won’t take a quick decision ever again».