HoopsHype.com Interviews

Luka Bogdanovic: "I will be ready in a couple of years"
by Jorge Sierra / May 7, 2004

How was your experience at the Nike Hoop Summit last month?

Luka Bogdanovic: It was a great experience for me – both on the basketball side and outside basketball. I scored a lot of of points there and have a pretty good game. It was very good on the basketball side. But I also met new guys and made some new friends there, so that was great for me too.

Was that your first time playing in the United States?

LB: No, I had played in Dallas before – in the Global Games.

Were you impressed by any of the players on the U.S. team?

LB: Yes, I was impressed. I was especially impressed with Josh Smith and JR Smith.

Do you think you are on a similar level with Josh Smith, JR Smith and all those guys?

LB: Yes, I think I am on a similar level with those guys.

What is the percentage of possibility that you stay in the draft this year?

LB: I have not made a final decision yet. I think it's 50-50 at this moment.

What has got to happen for you to pull your name out of the draft?

LB: It depends on my team Red Star Belgrade. If we play well and make it to the Finals, I can't go to the United States to take part in workouts. If we don't make it to the Finals, I have the chance to work in front of NBA teams. But if I can't attend workouts, I think I would probably pull my name out of the draft and wait till next year.

So you consider workouts very important, right?

LB: Yes, I think they are very important for me. This year with my club I didn't play all that well because I had to play power forward. But I'm a small forward although I'm playing the four spot. Small forward is my natural position. And in workouts, I'd have the chance to show them what I can do playing my natural position.

What do you think about the comparison with Predrag Stojakovic? Is it a good comparison?

LB: Oh, yes. I think it's a good comparison. We both come from the same club – Red Star Belgrade. We are both big for our position and we have a nice shot. I think that is a pretty fair comparison.

Is he your model as a player?

LB: Yes, he is my model. Stojakovic and Vladimir Radmanovic, too.

Apparently, your biggest weakness is defense. How big of a weakness do you think that is?

LB: It's a weakness for me when I have to guard power forwards like I did this year much of the time. When I have to face guys that are much stronger than me, it's hard. I need some more muscles to guard those players. But small forwards are not that big of a problem for me. I've had good games guarding small forwards in the league this year.

But you know small forwards in the NBA are much quicker and athletic.

LB: Yeah, but my problem is with tall and strong players, not quick and athletic players. If you put Tim Duncan in front of me, I can't guard him because he is much stronger than me. But for me it's a lot easier to guard players in the perimeter, chasing them around screens... I can do that.

If you had to choose, would you rather be a first-round pick this year or a member of the Serbian Olympic team?

LB: Right now, I'm on a list of 40 players. Among those, they'll select who's going to the Olympic Games. I'd love to be a first-round pick. But if they call me to join the National Team, that would be the priority for me at this moment.

How would you describe yourself in a few words?

LB: Like I told you before, I have been playing power forward this year and I have some back-to-the-basket game now. So I can say I'm an all-around player now. I can jump, I can shoot, I can score playing with my back to the basket. I can do a lot of things. I think I'm an all-around player. But you know, I still have to work on some things. I will work on those things and in a couple of years I will be totally ready for the league.

So you think you need another couple of years?

LB: Yeah. I know there are teams that are interested in me right now, but I want to be there when I'm ready. I don't want to be like those guys that go there and play just two minutes.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com.

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