Branislav Ratkovica Aiming For The ACB One Day

Branislav Ratkovica is a 24 year old 193 cm guard from Serbia. He is playing his second season for The Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He started his basketball career in 2002 with Beopetrol Beograd. He played for Atlas Banka Novi Beograd from 2003-2006. In the 2006-2007, he played for BC Mega Ishrana Beograd. In 2007, he came to Germany and landed with The EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but found little playing time averaging only 2.3ppg, 1.0apg. Last season, he joined The Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 29 games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 63.4%. This season, he has belonged to the best assist players in the BEKO BBL as well as leading his team. He recently spoke to German Hoops.

You are playing your second season in Tuebingen. What are the biggest differences to playing in Oldenburg?

I arrived in Oldenburg and Germany as a rookie and I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to play. I played as Gardner’s substitution, who is one of the best point guards in the whole league. However, Tuebingen is a completely different story, as here I have the full support and trust from the coach and the board, which makes it an easier environment to play in.

Some weks ago The Walter TIgers Tuebingen were one of the hottest teams in the BEKO BBL winning six games in a row, but since then have lost 4 of 5 games. Why has the team not been playing as well?

We haven’t had appropriate trainings in the last month as we had a lot of issues with injuries and health of the players, which brought us a step back from the great rhythm that we had in the past. Unfortunately, we lost two games at home, but we all believe that we can improve our position in the final part of the championship.

Are the BEKO BBL playoffs still a realistic goal?

Our chances for playoff are currently lower than before and it doesn’t depend only on us. There is no pressure imposed on us about having to be in the first eight teams, but we all hope this is achievable. We will play for victory in every game and we’ll see where that will take us.

How much credit does rookie coach Igor Perovic deserve for the success this season?

Igor is quite responsible for our success. He made a great team and set all things into the right position. He knows a lot about basketball, he is patient and reasonable, which has positive effects on the team. I think it has already been shown how much Tuebingen appreciates him.

How is your relationship to Igor Perovic? Do you guys have 100% blind confidence in each other?

Our cooperation is great. We have complete confidence in each other, which means a lot to me as a point guard. I owe him many of my great games.

How difficult has this seaosn been without a strong center rotation? Kenny Wiliams has done a great job, but there is no backup for him?

Kenny plays great this season, he has improved a lot since he joined. We have three center rotations, Aleksandar Nadjfeji, Dane Watts, Kenny… All of them are doing a great job this season.

There are so many good point guards in the BEKO BBL. I feel you don’t get enough credit for your good play. Does this bother you?

This might be expected, considering the fact that this is my first year as being a starting point guard. I think it will all come along with my well played matches and, of course, with the great matches of my team.

You are one of the top assist players in the BEKO BBL. Does passing come to you as easily as it is eating pizza for dinner?

My team mates are responsible for my good passing as they follow me in the game in the best possible way. What is left for me is only to find the right solution on the spot.

How has it been having Steve Wright as a backup? How has he helped your game?

Of course he helps me a lot. Steve is a great player with a lot of experience in this league. We gained a lot with his presence in the team.

Who wins a one on one game in practice you or Michael Jenkins?

It doesn’t happen very often that Michael and me play against each other, but I can say that he is surely one of the best players one on one in the whole league. He has all the necessary qualities for that.

How tough was it playing in Oldenburg two seasons ago and not getting playing time? I am sure you could easily lead Oldenburg today if Jason Gardner was injured.

It was a tough period for me, but since it was my first year in Germany, this shouldn’t surprise me. I didn’t have enough chance to play and that is why I decided to leave. I am also very sure of my ability to lead that team without any problems, but that is in the past now and I don’t think about it.

There are some BEKO BBL teams interested in your services next season. Where is the future going to take you?

I am still concentrated on this season’s results and Tuebingen, so thinking about the next season is not my priority.

You were born in Gradacac. What was your childhood like?

Yes, I was born in Gradacac, but I spent my childhood in Belgrade, where I arrived at the age of 5. This is where I went to school and started playing basketball.

Who were your basketball idols growing up?

Aleksandar Djordjevic, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd.

To what NBA player would you compare your game to?

Jason Kidd.

You played a few years in Beograd before coming to Germany. What were the most important things that you learned in these years to prepare you for the BEKO BBL?

The situation in Serbia is different than it is here. Young players get their chance a lot earlier and at the age of 17 they can already play in the first team. It helps a lot in the improvement of the players. I was lucky as I always had good coaches who could teach me and direct me in the right way.

Is your goal to play in the ACB in Spain some day? How many more years before you can play there?

ACB is the best league in Europe and it is certain that every player wants to play there. Therefore the competition is huge, but I believe I will go to Spain one day.

What would you like to do after your basketball career?

I still have a lot of time to play, but I think my future will stay in basketball, maybe as a coach or something similar.

Who wins a one on one game you or MBC guard Radenko Pilcevic?

Pilcevic is a young and promising player. We played twice against each other with different results.

What was the last DVD that you saw?

Edge of Darkness

Thanks Bane for the chat.

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