Tag: Serbia

Adam Morrison

The redemption of Adam Morrison is going on in Serbia


If you read just one thing today, click the link and read the profile of Adam Morrison by Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.

Morrison has been an NBA punch line for years now, the guy who couldn’t live up to the hype in Charlotte, who won two rings with the Lakers while wearing a suit, the guy cut from the Wizards. Adam Morrison became synonymous with bust for a lot of NBA fans.

But as always, the personal story is a lot more complex. It’s more compelling. Morrison opens up to Amick about the dark days without confidence, about walking away from the game and living on his ranch for a year just to escape. He talks about slowly rediscovering his love of the game.

He has started to turn it around playing in Serbia, and what those around him talk to Amick about is that the swagger that is back in Morrison’s game. It’s not just the 17 points per game, it’s the fire that has returned. Last month we showed you the video of Morrison getting ejected from a game — that made the people around him smile. That is the Morrison they know.

Morrison said his time in Serbia has been redemptive.

“It was such an adrenaline rush and an emotional high to be out there on the court again,” Morrison said. “Everybody who has done something in their life that they’ve had a passion for or done for a long time, and then all of a sudden it’s not there anymore, and then it comes back to you in such a rush [can relate].’

“I would’ve run through a brick wall that night for anything. Goose bumps. Sweating. That whole day, I’ve never been so focused. It was a friendly game, and I was thinking, ‘All right, I’m going nuts tonight. I don’t care what happens. I was ready to fight, to do anything, just to play.”

Do yourself a favor, click the link and read the whole story. You might even start rooting for Morrison.

Vlade Divac on how a war tore apart friendships, basketball in Yugoslavia

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“…we should take it more seriously, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. In this movie, everything seemed nice with our team and our relationship and our country and in one second, everything went upside down. It was a lot of manipulations, a lot of politics. You can definitely learn from the experience that I had.”

—Vlade Divac, in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin.

Vlade Divac’s life in basketball — on and off the court — is a fascinating one. And maybe nobody has had the realities of politics, war and death cross the imaginary lines we set up between the “real world” and the escape that is basketball quite like Divac.

It is all chronicled in an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that debuts tonight, Once Brothers. (Watch the trailer here.)

The movie focuses on the relationship between Divac and Drazen Petrovic, two good friends who had their relationship torn apart by the civil war, genocide and more that tore apart the country of Yugoslavia. It speaks to relationships never repaired, in this case because Petrovic died in a car crash at the age of 28.

It bothers me so much after all these years that I never had the opportunity to sit with him and go through our problems that we had. Before everything happened, we were roommates on the [Yugoslavian] national team. We had the same goals and we supported each other for the first couple years of the NBA. Basically, we opened the door for all those internationals because we had some trust as European players. Before, it was very tough to break through.

That relationship was ripped apart by the war that eventually divided Yugoslavia. Petrovic was Croatian, Divac Serbian. That left them on the opposite sides of ugly feelings and actions that were not of their creation, but a gulf they could not bridge. That may have changed eventually, had Petrovic’s life not been cut short on a German highway.

War, what is it good for?

Nenad Krstic has finger surgery, will miss Thunder training camp

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Thumbnail image for krstic_serbia_dunk.jpgOklahoma City had more than just Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Turkey for the World Championships, there was also Nenad Krstic from Serbia.

It was Serbia that sent Spain packing, lost in dramatic fashion to Turkey in the semi-finals and finished fourth after losing the bronze medal game to Lithuania.

In that final game, Krstic fractured the index finger on his shooting hand, and Monday he had surgery to repair it, according to a tweet from Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. He will miss training camp but should be ready to go for the regular season.

Not ideal, but Krstic is not a guy the Thunder count on to score a lot. If he can rebound, defend and play some solid minutes off the bench, all will be good.

Turkey squeaks past Serbia in the FIBA semifinals, will face Team USA in the final tomorrow

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semih_erden_turkey_boston_celtics.jpgThe Serbian national team held the lead virtually throughout their semifinal match with Turkey, but a mini-unraveling over the game’s final minutes and busted defensive coverage on Turkey’s final possession changed everything. Rather than the Serbians finishing their turbulent FIBA run with a finale against the Americans, they’ll be playing for Bronze, while the host nation tries to steal away the Gold.

Serbia played well, but Turkey hung in. The Turkish team kept the deficit reasonable, gave themselves a chance to win by using their depth, and seized the opportunity to take the lead by attacking the basket in the game’s closing seconds.

Serbia worked the ball to Novica Velickovic under the rim to gain a one-point lead with just 4.3 seconds remaining, leaving Turkey very little time to produce a quality attempt. Hedo Turkoglu received the inbound pass at halfcourt, and depending on who you ask, he either made a smart drop-pass to Kerem Tunceri on the wing or fumbled his way into a happy accident. Regardless of your interpretation, Tunceri turned Serbia’s over-aggressive defense against them, and drove straight to the rim on a team expecting to defend a jumper.

Serbia had one more chance to win the game, but their drawn-up oop attempt was sent back by Turkey’s (and now the Boston Celtics’) Semih Erden at the buzzer. Serbia’s game-long efforts were for naught, and the lead they fought so hard to protect and maintain over the game’s first three and a half quarters was worth nothing in the game’s final balance.

Tunceri (12), Turkoglu (16), Ender Arslan (12) and Omer Onan (14) all finished in double-figures for Turkey.

Milos Teodosic, who hit the go-ahead three for Serbia in the quarterfinal against Spain, finished with 13 points and 11 assists. Marko Keselj chipped in 18 points and seven rebounds, and Nenad Krstic had 15 and seven.

Turkey will now face Team USA in front of their home crowd tomorrow at 2:30 EST. The Americans are the definite favorites, and finished their semifinal game in completely different fashion; while Turkey clawed to keep up with Serbia before taking the game late in the fourth, Team USA kept Lithuania at arm’s length throughout most of their contest, and won by 15. Kevin Durant was simply dominant, and a Team USA defense spearheaded by Andre Iguodala completely shut down Linas Kleiza and the Lithuanian offense.

That defense will look to do the same against a pretty talented Turkish squad, and the smart money is on Team USA to take gold, even if Turkey won out in one of the tournament’s more entertaining games.

Do the Timberwolves have a Euro sleeper in Nemanja Bjelica?


Bjelica_serbia.jpgYou ever heard of Nemanja Bjelica? Of course not, you have a life and a fantasy football team to obsess over. That’s why teams hire European scouts, to go find guys who might fit in the NBA some day so you don’t have to.

Bjelica was a guy who caught interest because he’s 6’10” with a guard’s ball handling skills. Sort of in the Lamar Odom/Kevin Durant mold, save for the fact he is not as explosive athletically can’t shoot as well as those two. But a power forward with handles draws interest.

So the Timberwolves traded for him on draft day. And in Serbia’s win over Spain Wednesday, Bjelica made his presence felt.

Bjelica had 14 points, 11 in the first quarter and a key three in the fourth quarter. He was 5 of 5 from the floor, 3 of 3 from deep. If he can shoot like that the Timberwolves will have something.

He will not be in the NBA until 2012 at the earliest, he just signed a deal with a top Spanish club, Caja Laboral (Tiago Splitter’s team the last few years).

USA’s international scouting guru Tony Ronzone told this to the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Bjelica:

He’s not putting up big numbers, but this is intense competition. He’s young [22], he needs to get stronger. But he’s in a great situation: He’s here in the Sweet 16 with Serbia, and he’s going to a great team that won Spanish league for the next two seasons.

Just another guy to keep on the radar, he could be a real steal in a couple years.