Stojan Vrankovic in Gazzetta. For Greece’s match against Croatia, his team’s new effort, but also for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Mission to Milan: Michalis Gulenoglou
THE Stojan Vrankovic cannot go unclaimed. It’s not possible. It has been off the floor for years. But he never left basketball for a single moment.
It would be unfair for him to do so. And for basketball. And for him. His former center Panathinaikou he belongs to the generation of athletes who wanted to change basketball, after first experiencing it from the player’s side and exclaiming that basketball needs old athletes and not other… technocrats. They decided that some situations had to be differentiated.
The different meteriz of recent years also has an excellent position: President of the Croatian Basketball Federation. And the… forward in the effort of the Croatian national team in EuroBasket 2022.
Vrankovic spoke at Gazzetta for Greece’s match with Croatia, but also for the new effort that Hrvatska has started after its final exclusion from the 2023 World Cup.
What exactly are Croatia looking for in this tournament?
“It’s hard to say. Because we’ve had some tough defeats, like the one against Finland (note: which put them out of contention for World Cup qualification for good).
We have some new players, not players who haven’t played before, but new faces, like Kruno Simon or Markovic and Smith, so we’ll see on Friday».
The first match will be against Greece. What is your opinion about the match and Greece?
“It will be a difficult match. It’s a good team. In some matches, at the beginning of the preparation, but also in the qualifying matches, especially against Serbia, they showed that they are a tough team. It will be a tough match, but I hope we will play well. And then we have to find victories against the other teams as well».
Is it enough for Croatia to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo to win?
“I do not think. He is Greece’s top player, but there are other players who can score and shoot from the perimeter. So it is a very good team and with Giannis it becomes an excellent team».
“When I feel I’m causing pressure, I step aside”
What is it like for the players to have a Yugoslav basketball legend on their side?
“I hope it’s positive. Sometimes I understand that it can cause pressure, make them feel pressure, but I am here to help them, with my advice, with my experience. When I feel that they are feeling pressure, then I will step aside».
Do you try to help in training, give some advice to the team’s centers?
“I’m not always on the field. I was sometimes, during this period, closer to the team. I wanted to see how they behave, how they train and if I find something, then I will talk to the coach. Sometimes before training or before, we might talk, during a coffee break».