Milos Vujanic made his debut for Dynamo Moscow. He played for almost 20 minutes and scored 8 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and handed out 2 assists in Kazan. Upon his return to Moscow Sports.ru looked him up to discuss his first impression of the Russian league, the chances of Dynamo Moscow of winning the ULEB Cup and the crisis of the Serbian basketball.
Q: Congratulations on your debut Milos! An away game in Kazan is considered one of the hardest games of the season but you won easily. What are your impressions from the first game?
A: The most important thing is that we won. Escaping with the win from Kazan is really difficult, especially if you consider the fact that we played without Hansen and Domercant. That is why this win has an extra value for us. I’m slowly adapting to the team, after all i have been training with the rest of the team for just a few days. I hope that my game will get better by the time.
Q: It hasn’t been long since you had a serious knee injury. Does this injury still affect you? How do you feel now?
A: I’m hoping to leave all that behind me. I try not to recall this event but i have to live with it. Injuries are a part of an athlete’s life. I feel great now and I’m trying to concentrate jut on basketball.
Q: Your therapies were the reason why you had asked Zoran Slavnic to delay his Nation Team selection for the Eurobasket. But your request was ignored. Couldn’t the two of you reach a compromise?
A: I think that we could have reached a compromise if a third part took part in the talks. After all I didn’t ask for unreasonable privileges. I just asked for a 10-days leave in order to finish my therapy and gain my rhythm. I had an extremely hard season with my club and I didn’t have any time to rest at all. I couldn’t find a lingua franca with Slavnic.
Q: Last season you won everything with Panathinaikos, including the Euroleague trophy. Are you satisfied with your personal contribution to Panathinaikos’ triple crown, taking into consideration the fact that your playing time was significantly smaller than your average before the injury?
A: Yes, I’m totally satisfied with my spell in Greece. Because of my injury I joined the team 1 1/2 month after the season started and i needed a considerable amount of time to adapt. I was in my best shape during the Final Four where i played my best games of the season.
Q: The Euroleague trophy was the highlight of the season. But what else do you strongly recall from your stay in Greece?
A: I think that the most memorable fact is the triple crown we won. First it was the Greek Cup, then it was the Euroleague and finally the Greek Championship. It was the first time that Panathinaikos had achieved this and everyone who were involved in this feat feel very proud.
Q: The reason why you left Panathinaikos were the many transfers made of players that shared the same positions with you, which left you with minimal playing time. How do you see yourself in Dynamo Moscow and hat do you expect from your coach, Svetislav Pesic?
A: I started the season at Panathinaikos, but after the signings of Jasikevicius and Spanoulis it was clear to me that I wouldn’t be getting much playing time. I talked with Zeljko (Obradovic) about this and he said that the club wouldn’t mind if I looked for another club. The first offer i got was from Dynamo Moscow and i traveled to Moscow. Even if the season has fully started i think i can contribute a lot to Dynamo Moscow.
Q: What are the realistic targets of Dynamo Moscow this season?
A: I don’t like looking way ahead. I think we should take game by game and gradually sort out our targets. I think we have solid chances of getting in the Final Eight of the ULEB Cup and eventually fight for the trophy. In my opinion Russia should have more than just 1 spot in the Euroleague. A nation with such a tremendous basketball tradition surely deserves another spot. Taking into considerations facts like organization, the know-how, administration i think Dynamo Moscow is definitely a Euroleague calibre club and we will try to take Dynamo Moscow there.
Q: Did you have the chance to watch how your teammates beat the Russia Champions CSKA away?
A: Unfortunately i didn’t have the chance to watch the game but i was informed of the result. Beating CSKA away is extremely difficult but the result was no luck, it was the result of hard work from the team and the coach. This win verified the quality of Dynamo Moscow. Of course winning the Championship off CSKA will be even harder and we have to work even harder to be able to beat CSKA in the play-offs. The season is long, we have time and we will try to constantly progress.
Q: What is your role in the team?
A: I share the position with Samoylenko, a member of the Russian NT and Khvostov, a young and very talented player. I think that the competition between us will benefit us all.
Q: Russian basketball, both in Club and National level is on the rise. More basketball fans are expected to be created in the future which will want to see great foreign basketball players. Do you feel this responsibility?
A: I am playing abroad for five years. I have played in Italy, Span, Greece and currently in Russia. I am used to the expectations the fans have from me. As for the Russian League it is on a very high level but it will rise even more while more good clubs and players are added and more money is invested.
Q: You are a point guard, but that didn’t stop you from becoming Euroleague’s top scorer some seasons back. What do you like more? Scoring or making assists?
A: It is hard to tell. I have played as a point guard and as a shooting guard. My role depends on the needs of the team. In any case, the game result is by far more important than individual stats. If I score 35 points and make 15 assists and my team loses, what is the point? and when my team wins, I can’t be bothered with my individual stats. The team is above all.
Q: Months before the World Championship of 2002 in Indianapolis you were drafted by the New York Knicks. Do you still think of an NBA career?
A: Why not? If I get the right offer, which will satisfy me both financially and in playing terms I would like to try my luck overseas. We all know that none can get guaranteed playing time in any team, let alone NBA teams, so in my opinion in order for one to travel to the NBA he must be sure that he will have a certain role in the team and you will get the chance to prove yourself. But thinking about all these is way too early for me.
Q: Serbian basketball is in crisis. Serbia hasn’t won any medals in the past five years in major tournaments, something which hadn’t happened for decades. On top of that Serbian ‘star players’ deny playing for the NT. What are the reasons of this crisis and how could Serbia overcome this crisis?
A: This is a subject i don’t like talking about. I am a player and my job is to play and not resolving the reasons of a crisis. I am very sorry that I missed the Spain Eurobasket but I think that I’m still young and I will have more chances to play for Serbia NT. From my part I can assure everyone that I’m always willing to wear the NT jersey. It will be a bit awkward playing the Eurobasket 2009 qualification Groups but I don’t see anything wrong with this.
Q: About the future coach of Serbia NT now, the name of Dusan Ivkovic keeps popping up more and more. What do you think about this possibility?
A: I want to avoid commenting individual candidates before an official announcement. It is not about the individuals and me commenting on them would not make any sense.