On Wednesday night, in the remote Portuguese town of Sines, located on the south-west side, Dee Bost’s international campaign with Bulgaria got off to a winning start. But despite focussing on his national team duties, the 27-year-old, North Carolina native reflected on a memorable season with Monaco.
And at the same time, Bost is relishing a new chapter next season with Zalgiris. Particularly with the point guard being able to work with head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, himself a former point guard where he won four EuroLeague titles and a Final Four MVP award during his illustrious playing career. “As a point guard it definitely helped make my decision easier I can learn so much from coach Jasikevicius to improve,” Bost told TalkBasket.
Bost was an integral part of the Monaco side that surprised everyone in last season’s inaugural Basketball Champions League. Having only secured promotion to the top tier Pro A league in 2015, the Red and Whites faired well in their first season in the premier division and even captured the Leaders Cup, beating giants Elan Chalon in the final, which is held annually at the iconic Disneyland Paris Resort.
It was a feat that Monaco repeated in February, securing back-to-back Leaders Cup crowns as they edged ASVEL in the finale. Bost led all scorers on that day with 22 points, alongside Ukrainian Sergii Gladyr, however it was the skilful guard’s abilities in the Champions League that got the continent of hoops talking.
Easing into the Round of 16, via Group A, where they finished top with a 14-2 mark, Bost and his Monaco side raised a few eyebrows with many unaware of the talented, yet unselfish style of basketball the French side played.
A pair of wins over an established continental side Dinamo Sassari of Italy proved that Monaco, who were playing second division basketball just three seasons prior to the Basketball Champions League beginning were no fairytale story like you would get at Disneyland.
They finished the first season of the Champions League in third place, losing to Banvit in the semi-finals but ending on a high by hammering Reyer Venezia in the third-placed game.
“Last year was a successful season for me and Monaco,” Bost said. “Nobody really knew much about Monaco basketball, but after last year having a successful season everyone now knows who Monaco basketball is and it think it is rewarding for me.”
Bost averaged 12.7 points a game, shooting 35.8 percent from the field in the Champions League. It was enough to get the attention of Zalgiris, and as the Mississippi State University man heads to Kaunas, he leaves the bright lights, and fast life of Monaco behind and trades it with a working-class city, rich in tradition and fanatical on basketball.
And despite the basketball team playing second fiddle to the renown AS Monaco football side, Bost will have terrific memories of a short, but impactful season in the principality.
“For me Monaco is one of the best places in the world. For sure it’s the best place I ever played. I have a lot of memories there and I appreciate all of them.”
But for now, Bost’s focus remains on the national side, as he and the Bulgaria national team aim to go 2-0 when they host Belarus on Saturday in Botevgrad.
“Playing for Bulgaria is important for me,” he says. “I’m representing a different country, but I play the same way. I go out and compete every game.”