heinnews’s David Hein met up with talented Serbian point guard Nenad Miljenovic at the FIBA Europe U18 All-Star Game at the EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania. They talked about winning the U18 European silver medal and playing at the U18 All-Star Game; his four-year contract with Partizan and his expectations there; hopes of reaching the Serbian senior national team; and what he has to work on in his game.
heinnews: Hi Nenad, you helped Serbia to the silver medal at the U18 European Championship in Poland this summer and now the U18 All-Star Game in Lithuania at the EuroBasket 2011. What are your thoughts on this summer?
Miljenovic: I think it was a great summer. I am sorry that i did not go to the Under 19 World Championship, but I wanted to play for my U18 team too. Getting a silver medal was tough at the beginning because it was a loss in the final. It’s tough when you prepare yourself the whole summer and went on a long run and then you lose it was really tough for me the couple first days. But I went to the seaside to rest a little bit and I came back to Partizan ready to go. So for me, this game and the silver medal were unbelievable. It was an unbelievable summer for me.
heinnews: You mentioned Partizan, you signed a four-year deal with them, how does that feel?
Miljenovic: This will be my first year and Partizan is a huge club. It has a great tradition and plays Euroleague. I hope I can get a chance I will try to use it as best I can.
heinnews: How much have you talked to the coaching staff about how much you might play?
Miljenovic: I haven’t talked at all with them. I have just been training really hard, try to be the best I can and try to get some minutes.
heinnews: What are your expectations there – both self and team?
Miljenovic: Team, we want to win every trophy. Myself, I hope to be on the roster of 12 players and do my best and try to play as well as I can.
heinnews: In that Euroleague group are Maccabi Tel Aviv, Real Madrid, Efes Pilsen among others, what would it be like to play against some of those huge clubs in European basketball?
Miljenovic: Yeah, it’s unbelievable. I was just watching Navarro and Batum and all those players and I am supposed to play against them this season. It would be an unbelievable experience. If I get a chance to play this season it would be amazing for me.
heinnews: Are you ready to play against those guys?
Miljenovic: Of course, always.
heinnews: What did you think about Serbia at EuroBasket 2011 and the disappointment about not making the top six and the Olympic qualifying tournament?
Miljenovic: It is what it is. That’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Russia was better, we beat them two years ago in the quarterfinals in Poland, this year we couldn’t. I’m sorry for my team of course, my country. We were all very sad because we will not play in the Olympics next year. But you just have to move on, move on and next year try to prepare selection for 2013 EuroBasket in Slovenia and try to do our best there.
heinnews: How soon would you like to be in the senior Serbian national team?
Miljenovic: As soon as I can. I don’t really think about it. I just go step by step. I am looking forward to it – one day being in the national team.
heinnews: Where do you see your game and what you need to work on most?
Miljenovic: Physical. My legs, I need to get stronger, a lot, to play in the Euroleague. I need to improve my defense. I am not really worried too much about my offense.