Darko Milicic: "Donnie Nelson hasn't contacted me in particular"
Most Yugoslav talents usually come from Partizan Belgrade. How did you end up in Hemofarm Vrsac?
Darko Milicic: I have been in Vrsac for four years already. I have become pretty much attached to this town because the overall conditions are excellent. I believe that I will stay here until I complete maturing as a player.
Why and when did you start playing basketball? Is there any basketball tradition in your family?
DM: I started playing basketball with friends from the school, like the rest of the boys. Then we altogether found the club to play for: Sports World from Novi Sad. Only after a year of training in Novi Sad and upon my arrival to Vrsac, I started to be more serious about basketball. As far as the tradition is concerned, my mother played for BC Vrsac, in the 60’s.
Apparently you can play all five spots, but which do you think is your natural position?
DM: I like playing the four spot the most.
Which NBA player do you think you resemble the most? Nikoloz Tskitishvili, maybe?
DM: I don’t think that I resemble Tskitishvili, I would rather say that I resemble Kevin Garnett, who is also my favorite basketball player.
What part of your game is the best in your opinion?
DM: I presented the best part of my game in the first round of this season in the domestic championship against Partizan, in the duel with Nenad Krstic.
With so many NBA scouts on the stands, do you feel extra pressure?
DM: No, I feel no pressure.
What do you have to improve in order to play in the NBA one day?
DM: I aspire only to the highest goals in life, it’s the same with the NBA. I will do my best.
Is the NBA an obsession for you?
So, is your intention to enter this year's draft? [Darko will be 18 in draft day, but his 18th birthday doesn't come 45 days before the draft as the rules specify]
DM: Talking to my manager I realized that it is not certain that I will enter this year’s draft, if I do that I will, according to estimates, be the second pick. In case I enter the draft in 2004 I will be the first pick, according to certain data from the Internet.
How was your experience in the Global Games in Dallas? Was that your first time in the United States?
DM: It was my first visit to America. I didn’t play much then. There were some misunderstandings with the coach and I also had problems with my back.
Did you met or talked to Don or Donnie Nelson this summer?
DM: Donnie Nelson hasn’t contacted me in particular, but we have met when he has been to the coaches seminar in Yugoslavia.
You recently took part in the European Championship for Young Men... Which other players of your generation you consider have a shot at the NBA?
DM: Of my generation, I would mention Luka Bogdanovic.
One of the best European players of your age is Erazem Lorbek. He is going to play in Michigan State this year... Have you thought of going to an American college or would you rather stay in Yugoslavia?
DM: I would rather stay in Yugoslavia.
Is there any player you'd like to face in the NBA?
DM: Yes, Kevin Garnet.
And any team you would especially like to play for?
DM: I haven’t thought about that yet.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com. Ivana Markov, Hemofarm's media officer, helped conduct the interview.
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