Milenko Tepic who is currently preparing with the Serbian National Team for the 2010 World Championship gave an exclusive interview to Panathinaikos BC affiliated newspaper “Prasini” and TalkBasket translated it and presents it to you.
At the age of 23 you have already had great season with both Panathinaikos and Serbia NT…
– I am really happy to be a part of both Panathinaikos and Serbia NT. This is enough for me. I have worked hard to achieve this, and I don’t have much spare time but it is such an honour to play for these two teams that I forget everything.
This summer everyone are talking about you returning to your natural position next season (from small forward to point guard). Do you have a comment on that?
– Honestly I am the last person who will decide in which position to play in Panathinaikos. I am content just being a member of this team. Zeljko Obradovic is the best coach in Europe. Whatever he decides, it is the right thing, he knows best. I will give my 101% for him and the team. When you play for Panathinaikos you listen, you learn and you do what you need to do.
Can you tell us which is your natural position, playing for Panathinaikos or not.
– When I start playing seriously, in novisad I played the “2” position but was then moved to “1” due to our point guard’s injury problem. I did well and was used at that position for more games. After that I mainly played at “1”. After joining Partizan I played both “1” and “2” in my first season, then I was at “1” more, but not limited to. Generally speaking I’ve been used in all of back court positions.
Can you describe your first season at Panathinaikos?
– At first I didn’t do so well but then I regained by self-confidence, I played more freely and got used to my team mates. This is why I played the best in the play-offs and the finals. I felt great at the end of season and I showed it on the court.
What do you expect from your 2nd season?
– Next season needs, and I want to make it, better. I am older now and expectations are higher. I have many reasons to play better and I will. I hope everything goes well.
What is your opinion about the replacement of Nikola Pekovic with Aleks Maric?
– I haven’t played with Aleks in Partizan as opposed to Nikola but I have faced him against Partizan last season. I know he is a great player and everyone in Serbia are talking high of him. He will manage to replace Pekovic but it will be difficult. Pekovic is one of the best European big guys and we all know that.
What do you believe about Panathinaikos’ movements in the transfer market?
– All the guys that renewed, Demetris (Diamantides), Drew (Nicholas), Mike (Batiste) are tremendous players and personalities. I also know Vouyoukas and Kaimakoglou and I have also seen Sato playing with Siena. I will not be the one to judge Obradovic’ signings but I do believe we have an excellent squad and can reach the top.
Your opinion regarding Dusan Ivkovic?
– I saw how badly Olympiacos wnated Ivkovic and I really do udnerstand them because they want to go to the next step, but for me that doesn’t change anything. I want the title with Panathinaikos. Olympiacos signed Ivkovic to go higher and he has proved many times he possesses the “know how”. I respect his decision to join Olympiacos. I know for a fact that they will play better next season but we are professionals and inside the court I will strive for my team’s win. Outside the court we have the best of relationship, I do not feel strange.
So you do not feel odd at all for his move to Olympiacos?
– It is true that in some way right now I am sort of in the “hands of Olympiacos” (Tepic is a member of Serbia NT preparation squad under Ivkovic at the moment). It is something different, but not negative. they respect me for being a player of Zeljko Obradovic and Panathinaikos.
About Spanoulis’ move to Olympiacos?
– I would never go to Olympiacos, but that doesn’t matter. I feel weird for Vassilis, you know how difficult is to make the jump from Panathinaikos to Olympiacos but I don’t know the “full story” behind it and I want it to stay that way. It was his decision, we will now be opponents in the courts. I wish him all the best in his career, except for the games against Panathinaikos. In those games we must be the winners.