As you probably know, we are midway through our EuroLeague Playoffs series against Baskonia. We had a successful regular season and were able to control our own destiny by getting the home-court advantage and winning our first two playoffs games at home. We still have unfinished business. We still need one more win to make it to the Final Four and we know how tough it is to win on the road, but have to find a way to go back to the drawing board and get everything back together. We have some preparation that we need to do to get back on track. The atmosphere was electric in our home games; Fener fans have been there from Day One and knowing that playoff atmosphere is really dynamic, it was really tough for the opposing team to play there and win. We had a really good record on the road throughout the regular season and now we have to find ways to get back to that and get one more win to go to the Final Four.
Of course, Baskonia will try to take care of its home cooking and got the best of us in Game 3. We didn’t play our basketball as well. We have to take this, look at the film, see what we can do better and look back at the games that we had success in to put it all together. We have played against them a good amount of times already – this will be our sixth time this season. Obviously, making adjustments and things like that is really tough, but they got the best of us in Game 3, so it is our turn to bounce back.
It was good to see Bogdan Bogdanovic at our home games. We both played for Fenerbahce and Sacramento, so there is a strong connection there. It was the first time that we talked and I wish him all the best after a great rookie season in the NBA. We have mutual friends in both organizations since I was in Sacramento for so long. We were talking about places in the city that he enjoys, I still have a house there and stuff like that. It is crazy how small the world is and the coincidence of knowing familiar players and him playing for an organization that I was there for so long.
It has been an interesting season for me at all levels. I went to Rider University and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Communications TV/Radio, and I always wanted to do something like that in life after basketball. While in the NBA, I took a few different courses; they had a broadcasting course at Syracuse University where you did different workshops. You stayed on campus for three or four nights and had some basketball people teaching you certain things. At the time, I had Amar’e Stoudamire, Randy Foye, Nazr Mohammed and a bunch of other guys who are broadcasting basketball on TV now. Just having that practice and actually doing those workshops – they taped everything that you did, so if you want to show that to other broadcasters, it could really help you out. With more practice in podcasting, TV, radio and things like that, I can only get better!
When it comes to broadcasting here in Europe compared to the NBA, there are similarities and differences. I feel like for me, I kind of know more of the NBA journalists maybe because I was there longer. The ones in here are kind of more private, I guess you would say, probably because the language is also different. I have some teammates who translate some of the things. I talked to some of the EuroLeague broadcasters and when I watch other teams play, I can listen to them and see how the similarities and difference between different announcers. I am part of the EuroLeague family now and have to understand some of the different personalities on TV.
I don’t know if you know this, but my brother Ryan played the EuroLeague in the past and is now in Germany, playing for ratiopharm Ulm! We talk to each other all the time. We are two years apart and went to the same high school and the same college. He has played in different countries over the years – Germany, Belgium, Serbia, Italy, Turkey… the list goes on! He played for Crvena Zvezda a couple of years ago and definitely has a lot of experience when it comes to playing at this level. I talk to him a lot – when I signed for Fener, I didn’t know you played for two different leagues, the EuroLeague and the Turkish League. I didn’t really know that coming in and Ryan gave me a lot of advice about different things, watching the games and things like that.
We play Game 4 on Thursday and have to treat it as if it a championship game. We have been in this situation before and like I said before, we have to prepare and watch some film to learn from our mistakes and see the stuff that we did well. We have to try to limit our turnovers, control the glass and hopefully come out with a victory.