Elvir Ovcina(Giessen 46ers) The War Was A Bad Experience, But We All Tried To Learn The Best We Could From This Experience

Elvir Ovcina is a 34 year old 211cm power forward/center that was born in Sarajevo.
He played for Syracuse from 1995-1999 reaching the NCAA final in 1996. After playing in Slovenia for two seasons, he came to Germany and played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2001-2004. In the 2003-2004 season, he played 27 games: 14.9ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.7apg, 2.8bpg. In 2004-2005, he played for Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1): Euroleague: 8 games: 4.3ppg, 5.6rpg; Greek League: 9 games: 5.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 2FGP: 52.0%, in Dec.’04 moved to RheinEnergie Koln (Germany-1.Bundesliga): ULEB Cup: 5 games: 11,2ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3Pts: 33.3%; German Bundesliga: 21 games: 10.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.6bpg, 2FGP: 49.7%, 3FGP: 20.0%. In 2005-2006, he played for Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague): EuroCup Challenge: 2 games: 10.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 0ast, FG: 63.6%, 3PT: 50%; Ukrainian League: 8 games: 7.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 66.7%, in Dec.’05 joined Telindus BC Oostende (Belgium-D1): 21 games: 10.7ppg, Reb-4(7.8rpg), 1.7apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 55.0%. He then played in Belgium from 2006-2008 for Telindus BC Oostende winning the cup in 2008. In 2008-2009, he played for Bosna ASA BH Telecom Sarajevo (D1): Adriatic League: 5 games: 9.8ppg, 9.2rpg, 3.6apg. Last season, he played for Polzela (Slovenia-Liga UPC): 5 games: 12.8ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 66.7%, FT: 85.7%, in Jan.’10 moved to LTi Giessen 46ers (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 14 games: 14.1ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 69.4%. Some achievements in his career have been and Herzegovina National Team -97-05, European Championships -97, 99, 01, 03, German Bundesliga Cup Semifinals -02, German Bundesliga All-Star Game -03, German Bundesliga Cup Winner -05, European Championships in Belgrade -05: 3 games: 5.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 0.7apg, 1.3spg, Belgian League Regular Season Champion -06, Belgian League Champion -06, 07
and Bosnia and Herzegovina Cup Winner -09. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

The Giessen 46ers are the huge surprise of the season so far. Why is the team so strong this season?

We are a young talented team. I think we have had an advantage with the schedule in the early going. We didn´t play any team that was higher than 13th place. We haven´t had a win against  atop team like Oldenburg or Bamberg yet. I think that the team did  a good chance preparing for the season. Last season, the team started 0-6 and after six games this season had 4 wins already. Management did a good job bringing in new players. Only me and Jannik Freese remained. We might not have good results in preseason, but we always knew that if we continued to work hard, we would have success.


Zachery Peacock, Ryan Brooks and Anthony Smith average 44 of the team 74 points together. Are you surprised how strong they are since they only have one year of professional experience coming into this season.

Peacock and Brooks played at good colleges and always had good competition. It will take some time for guys like Perl and Schwartz to develop, but I am sure they will adjust. Of course, I am a little surprised how well the three have played and I hope that we can continue to play well.

Dou you think that the thin Giessen bench will be able to step up if key starters are injured or have off nights?

I think they will step up. We had problems with injuries early with chase Griffin, but guys like Kepky, Schwartz and Madrich have stepped up. We are so young as a team and it will take time to learn what it takes to be a good team. I hope this young team will continue to grow.

What do you like the most about Giessen?

I like the management and the people. They are all very nice. I also like how the organization is trying to build a winner. The fans are also amazing. I can remember when I played with Cologne and Oldenburg, it was always most difficult to win in Giessen.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Bosnia. I started to play basketball at age 11. Basketball was the number #1 sport in the former Yugoslavia. I practiced twice a day with age 13-14. My childhood was not spent on the streets, but in the gym. The war was a bad experience, but we all tried to learn the best we could from this experience.

Who were your basketball idols?

My favorite player was Toni Kukoc.

You played at Syracuse from 1995-1999. What was your nicest memory from this time?

The best memory was reaching the NCAA final in 1996. We played at Kentucky and coach Rick Pitino and lost the final. 8 of the 12 Kentucky players went on to play in the NBA. It was great playing for such a great school that had such a rich tradition.

You played together with ex NBA player John Wallace. He was a senior and you were a freshman. What do you remember about John Wallace.

I believe that he was the best college player at that time. He played in the NBA and in Greece. He was a great player and good guy. He always worked hard and set a good example for all.

You played for The EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2001-2004. How has the league changed in the last 6 years?

I think that the league has improved with the organization and new arenas. There are more fans coming to games and there are new different teams. 6 years ago there was no Ulm or Duesseldorf. But that is a part of basketball. Things do change. I think that the players were stronger five or six years ago.

What do you remember from your time with Rhein Energy Cologne where you won the BEKO BBL cup?

It was a great experience and the first time I was able to win a title and raise a trophy over my head.

Were you surprised that Marcin Gortat reached the NBA a few years later?

No not at all. I remember that all he talked about was the NBA. He always knew the scores and stats. It was his dream to reach the NBA and he did, but with a lot of hard work.

You won the Belgium cup with Titus Ivory in 2008. Did Ivory have the widest grin you ever saw?

hahahaha. Titus had a great character and was a good team player.

Who wins a one on one in practice, you or Zachery Peacock?

We dont really go against each other. I play against Jannik Freese. I am sure that he will say that he will win.

What were the most free throws that you made in a row?

I dont know. Sometimes I might only hit two free throws and then maybe 20-30 in a row.

What was your most crazy shot in a game or practice?

A half court shot. I never won a game like that.

What would you like to do after your basketball career?

I would like to stay with basketball. perhaps work in management or be a coach. But first, I want to keep playing as long as I can.

What are your hobbies?

Spending as much time with my family.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

A cartoon with my kids.

Thanks Elvir for the chat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s