Bogdan Bogdanovic: A Rising Star, rising higher

Sep 03, 2014 by Bogdan Bogdanovic in Granada, Spain Print
Bogdan Bogdanovic - Serbia WC14 (Photo FIBA)I can't tell you how excited I am to be experiencing my first World Cup with the Serbian national team. These last three months have been the most important ones in my life. First, I was honored to be voted the Rising Star Trophy winner of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague by the coaches around Europe. Then, I was able to win the Serbian League title with Partizan NIS Belgrade. After that, I signed with Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, which is a big move for me, as I will be playing outside of my country for the first time in my career. And then I was selected in the NBA Draft. Now, to be here in Granada for the World Cup, playing alongside guys I admired growing up, is a great step that I am enjoying immensely.

Four years ago, I had just turned 18 when Serbia was making a run in the last World Cup and had knocked out Spain, the defending champion, in the quarterfinals on a last-second three-pointer by Milos Teodosic. I did not see the game, because I was trying out with Partizan at the time and we were in a preseason camp in Slovenia. But when we got back to the hotel, we saw a tape of the game, and I remember being amazed by that basket and that victory. Now, four years later, I am playing beside Milos in the next World Cup. I can only say it’s like a dream-come-true that four years ago I could never have thought possible.

We are part of a great group of teams here in Granada, which I have heard is a beautiful city, but so far we have had no free time to see much for ourselves. The game schedule is such that we have our days too full for sightseeing. We have been playing the early afternoon games here, so we basically get up, eat and talk together as a team before going to the arena to play. After each game, we get back tired to the hotel and need to rest to do it again the next day. Tuesday we had our first meal since we arrived outside the headquarters hotel for the teams. It was a chance to get out of our routine and have a little break.

On the court, I feel like I am getting into some rhythm after three games, but I know I can play better. On Monday against Iran, I was able to do better than in the first two games, but I feel I haven't played my best game yet. The win against Iran meant that we will make it to the next round. Of course, our toughest game so far was against France, and we had some bad luck to lose it at the end. We still have two games left in this group, with the one against Brazil on Wednesday being the key. If we can beat Brazil, we will probably finish second, and if not, we will probably be fourth. We finish the group on Thursday against Spain, which knocked us out of EuroBasket last summer. We will have to be ready for that game, too.

Everybody was impressed by the way Spain beat Brazil in the last game before the group took a day off on Tuesday. I don't remember seeing any team play with the dominance that Spain did in that game. It was incredible to see Pau Gasol make three consecutive three-pointers to put the result away early in the second half. You don't see centers do that very often! In the end, maybe our loss to France won't be such bad luck, because if we finish second or fourth, we will avoid playing Spain for a second time until the medal rounds - if we both make it that far. With the way they played against Brazil and their fans behind them in this tournament, Spain is one of the favorites to go far, of course.

After a day of rest and recharging our batteries, we'll be back on the floor Thursday. I am enjoying my first World Cup so far and really happy that we will continue on until Madrid and the Round of 16. Wish us luck!