HoopsHype.com Interviews

Sani Becirovic: "I want to play in Europe another three years"
by Jorge Sierra / June 24, 2003

First of all, how are those knees?

Sani Becirovic: I feel good. I have already started working out. I took part in a workout in front of NBA scouts the other day and they were quite pleased. I'm not at one hundred percent, but I'm feeling pretty well right now.

So you feel you are still not close to the physical level you had a couple years ago, right?

SB: Of course not. I'm far away. Maybe 30-40 percent. But, you know, I have all the summer ahead of me and I'm going to work hard so that I can be back in the best shape when next season starts.

How did you cope with all those injury problems?

SB: It was really bad. I couldn't play for all that time and I was very disappointed. But now the pain is gone. It's like a new start. I feel much better. There is no pain now and this is like a fresh new start for me.

Did you ever thought you may not be able to play again?

SB: I never thought that. Even if the doctors' predictions were that I would not be able to play basketball at the highest level again, I didn't believe that. I believe in hard work and I'm very confident in my abilities. And I'm a hard worker. With hard work, you can get everything you want.

What are your plans for next season?

SB: I wish I stay in Virtus (Bologna, Italy). I like the team and I like the city. You know, this is a basketball city. I hope things go better with the club [Virtus Bologna has been in turmoil this season], because I want to play three more years in Europe and prove everybody that I can be back to a great basketball level.

How was that workout in Treviso in front of NBA scouts?

SB: The fact is that it was my first real workout after the injury. I had only made easy workouts till that one. It was fine. I feel I did pretty good.

Did you talk with any of those NBA scouts?

SB: Yes, yes. And they were quite pleased with what they saw. They know I'm still far away from my best level, but they told me they were pleased to know I'm on my way back. And I think the same. I'm still not ready. I'm not at one hundred percent. I'm not ready to go back and compete at the highest level. But I'm going to work hard and I will be.

Most Euro prospects with a good chance of getting drafted take part in workouts in the States. Why didn't you do that?

SB: I mean, I didn't think I was ready. I'm very aware of that. But I got the upcoming season to prove that I will be ready. Anyway, I'm not interested in the NBA at this point. What I want to do is winning titles in Europe first and then maybe I will go to the NBA and prove that I can play there, too.

Even if you are not interested in the NBA right now, the NBA is interested in you. According to ESPN, the Nuggets could take a gamble on you. Have you heard anything about that?

SB: Yeah, I know. My agent has told me there have been some contacts and I have done some tests, you know.

Do you like Denver as a possible destination?

SB: For me, it doesn't matter. It will be good to be chosen by some NBA team in the draft. It means they have not forgotten about me. But even if I don't get drafted by any NBA team, I will be happy. I really enjoy playing in Europe and I will be happy here.

So you don't regret not entering the draft before the injury let's say a couple years ago?

SB: No. I never have regrets. I was doing great and then I had to undergo surgery. Things like that happen. Things change. It is they way it is. I have no regrets. I never regret anything.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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