HoopsHype Serbia rumors

June 10, 2011 Updates

Growing up, life was just as much about war as it was about basketball for Krstic and Pavlovic. The two were less than ten years old when battles for independence in Yugoslavia ensued in the early 1990’s. Krstic was growing up in Kraljevo, Yugoslavia while Pavlovic lived in Montenegro. The effects of the strife were widespread. Even though the battles were not taking place close to them, both families were impacted. Krstic’s father, a construction worker, and his mother, a nurse, worked to bring home meager wages each month. “My parents worked -- and not just my parents, all people worked for like $10 a month, basically surviving,” Krstic said. “Inflation, every day was just really expensive. And there was war going on. The people in Serbia were going to fight in Bosnia and Croatia. A lot of people died. It was just bad. I was in elementary school back in the days and my parents tried to protect me and not see that stuff on TV and put food on the table every day, but it was a really tough time.” CSNNE.com

Pavlovic’s upbringing was similar. “We as kids didn’t go through a very nice childhood like everybody else did,” he said. “It was great, but it was always talking about war. Even though it never happened right where we lived, it happened all the way around us and it was involved with our people. “Back then there was nothing, you couldn’t buy anything. I don’t even know how they went through that, my parents and everybody. No money, no food. I lived on the coast and it’s a big port and my parents worked connected to ports. It was tough, but like I’m telling you, our people are kind of used to that, from generations back. I don’t know how we handled that, but it’s actually unbelievable.” CSNNE.com

The internal struggle continued throughout Krstic and Pavlovic’s childhood. In 1999, in response to a conflict in Kosovo, NATO began a series of air strikes that lasted nearly three months. Pavlovic felt the rumbles shortly before Krstic did. “It was scary, as much as I remember,” Pavlovic said. “I was at practice when the first bomb fell. It was actually like only five miles away from the place I was practicing. … I heard a loud sound and the gym was shaking. Everybody went back home and we saw the planes in the air. It was a little bit shocking.” Both had heard about the possibility of air strikes, but words could not have prepared them for the reality of them. "Everybody was just shocked and mad," Pavlovic said. “Actually, before practice we talked about that and we said there is no way they’re going to do that. There’s no reason to do that. And in the middle of the practice they did. Everybody was so shocked. But nobody was really scared because you just can’t believe that that’s happening.” CSNNE.com

The bombings near Pavlovic lasted only one night. For Krstic, though, the threat of danger lasted from late March into June. After an initial period of shock and fear, war became part of life. “It’s how we grew up,” Krstic said matter-of-factly. “It was scary. It’s scary when you hear air raids and stuff, but after a couple weeks you kind of got used to it. People stopped caring. You have two choices – stop caring – if the bomb’s going to fall on you, that’s your destiny. Or, you are just going to go insane and in panic. … Serbian people are very proud people. We take our pride and we don’t surrender.” CSNNE.com

Krstic and his family spent the first night of air raids in a shelter that was, as he described it, “dirty, cold, and nobody had used it for 20 years.” Because of the conditions, he fell ill with a high fever and cough. His parents wanted better for their children. The following day, his father left for the military. Krstic’s mother took him, his sister, and his grandparents to seek refuge in a summer house in a nearby village. “My mom was thinking it was not safe to stay in the town because when the war started you heard a lot of people start talking and rumors – they’re going to bomb this today or they’re going to bomb this factory or they’re going to bomb the hospital,” he said. “So you start to panic, and she was thinking the best way was just to go outside of everything and live in the village for a little bit until the war stopped. So that’s how we lived for three months.” CSNNE.com

November 28, 2010 Updates

Belgrade Partizan annouced about signing 23 years old American Curtis Jerrells. Curtis studied and played for Bailor college and was leading team in scoring and assists for all 4 years.Last year Jerrells played in NBDL league and was averaging 20 points with almost 6 assists per game.He played for S.A Spurs in summer league but could get to the team and was traded to New Orlean Hornets. hoopsleader.com

November 17, 2010 Updates

A couple of weeks have passed since a 5.6 magnitude earthquake devastated Nenad Krstic's hometown in Serbia. The plight of those back in Kraljevo is still on his mind. But instead of constantly worrying about their safety, Krstic is focused on the rebuilding efforts and the difficult road ahead in the central Serbian town of about 100,000. The earthquake hit Nov. 3, damaging buildings across the city, including hospitals and schools, and hundreds of homes have been declared uninhabitable. "Right now, it's calming down," Krstic said earlier this week. "I'm still sad about what happened, but at least not a lot of people were hurt. Unfortunately two people died and a couple of people were injured, but it could be worse because it was a big hit. Everything else you can fix it." NBA.com

Krstic is a big deal in Kraljevo and throughout Serbia. Not only is the 27-year-old 7-footer the starting center of the Oklahoma City Thunder, he's also the captain of the national team. There's a sense of responsibility running through Krstic's veins when it comes to his birthplace. "I feel like I need to help," the former Partizan Belgrade star said. "Definitely, I'm trying to be an example for other people, other basketball players, soccer players. It's really good that a lot of sports people are trying to help and send donations. "We have to stay together. It really hit hard in my hometown. Other cities are fine. My hometown is really bad right now, in bad shape. A lot of buildings are destroyed and need to be built again." NBA.com

Krstic and the Thunder cooperated in a fundraiser at a recent OKC game that raised $10,000 for relief efforts. Other notable sports figures with Kraljevo ties include international soccer player Aleksandar Lukovic and former NBA center Vlade Divac, who started his career there. Krstic learned of the earthquake during a dinner in Los Angeles through a friend's text. It took some time to make contract with his father back in Kraljevo and, naturally, Krstic began to worry. He began to read reports and watch video of the damage. Krstic eventually made contact with his father and learned that he and other relatives weren't injured. At least not physically. Emotionally, everyone was hit. NBA.com

The Red Cross is providing aid. Krstic said people from across the country have come to Kraljevo to help. Families whose homes are still livable have taken in families without roofs over their head or a safe place to sleep. "It's going to take a while, especially with the financing," he said. "But there's good will and people trying to help with money. People are coming from all over Serbia trying to fix things." NBA.com

October 14, 2010 Updates

Jeff Potter: Happy news for Oliver Lafayette today, but tough news for the Mad Ants. Oliver has signed on with Partizan Belgrade to play this season in the Euroleague. The past few weeks (actually longer), we have tried to like crazy to get him to come back to the Ants after being released from the Celtics. I understand him taking this offer, because Partizan is an outstanding club and playing in the Euroleague is as good as it gets in Europe. I am very happy for Oliver, and this is a well deserved job and opportunity for him and his family. With that said, I truly believe he jumped to Europe too soon. He has been in the NBA mix for about 5 months, and he would have been entering this season at the top of the call up list. pottersnewblog.blogspot.com

September 9, 2010 Updates

Teodosic then stepped back as the other Serbian players spread out wide, dribbling the clock down as he stood 28 feet away from the basket. Garbajosa played off him, and with five seconds left, Teodosic let it fly. And when his straightaway 3-pointer went through the net with 3.1 seconds left, Serbia had a 92-89 victory that dethroned the defending world champions. "In the timeout, we decided we would only shoot a long 3-pointer. If we miss, it's overtime," said Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic, whose team avenged a defeat against Spain in the gold medal-game of the 2009 EuroBasket tournament in Poland. ESPN.com

September 8, 2010 Updates
August 27, 2010 Updates

Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic says his team has been devastated by the suspensions of its two top players for the start of the world basketball championships. Ivkovic blasted FIBA for waiting until less than 48 hours before the start of the championship to suspend center Nenad Krstic and guard Milos Teodosic for their roles in a brawl in Greece. Krstic will miss the first three games and Teodosic the first two. Ivkovic says Serbia has lost "two key players'' for the games against Angola, Germany and Jordan. SI.com

August 26, 2010 Updates

Nenad Krstic of the Oklahoma City Thunder has been suspended for Serbia's next three games for throwing a chair during last week's brawl with Greece. Basketball's governing body said Thursday that three other players will miss two games. FIBA also fined both national federations. Serbia's Milos Teodosic is banned two games. His fight with Greece's Antonis Fotsis started the melee. ESPN.com

August 24, 2010 Updates

Jerome Jordan hasn't received an offer from the New York Knicks, the NBA franchise that selected him in the last draft, and will finally start his professional career in Serbia. Hemofarm will be the next team for the 23-year-old Jamaican center, who averaged 15.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game during his senior year with the University of Tulsa. The Hoops Market

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