Velimir Radinovic is a 31 year old 212cm center that was born in Canada, but also has the Serbian citizenship as he has Serbian parents. He played at Ohio State from 2000-2004. He turned professional in 2004 and played for Reflex Beograd (SCG-1A): ULEB Cup: 10 games: 4.4ppg, 2.4rpg, FGP: 51.7%; Adriatic League: 30 games: 6.0ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 56.0%; 1A League: 14 games: 5.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 0.3apg. In 2005-2006, he played for FMP Zeleznik Beograd (SCG-1A): ULEB Cup: 4 games: 1.0ppg; Adriatic League: 10 games: 2.1ppg, 1.4rpg, in Dec.’05 signed at KK Hemofarm Vrsac (SCG-1A): ULEB Cup: 6 games: 7.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 2FGP: 88.9%; Adriatic League: 14 games: 3.1ppg, 1.8rpg; SCG Superleague: 5 games: 5.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 0.8apg. In 2006-2007, he played for KK Hemofarm Vrsac (SCG-A): Adriatic League: 26 games: 4.9ppg, 2.6rpg; ULEB Cup: 12 games: 9.3ppg, 4.1rpg, 2FGP: 64.1%, 3FGP: 0%, FT: 66.7%. In 2007-2008, he played in France for Stade Clermontois Basket Auvergne (France-ProA, starting five): 28 games: 5.6ppg, 3.9rpg, 2FGP: 57.3%, FT: 79.6%. In 2008-2009, he played in Greece for Iraklis Thessaloniki (Greece-A2): 29 games: 7.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 2FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 87.0. He played for MBC from 2009-2011. Last season, for MBC, he played 27 games: 6.6ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 52.6%, FT: 68.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about his career and issued this statement. “”I officially announce my retirement from professional basketball. At this time I think it’s best for my family and myself that I walk away, and concentrate on moving forward with a more sustainable career path. Unfortunately I cannot continue to endure the rigours that is required of a professional athlete, and to compete at a high level. I want to thank all my former coaches, teammates, Managers for all the opportunities that the game of basketball has provided me.”
The last team that you played for was the Walter Tigers Tuebingen leaving in November 2011. How tough is it in general not playing looking for a new job and seeing other guys playing?
It’s surprisingly not that tough. Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing but I definitely don’t miss practicing. I enjoy watching the game, I’ve been following the NCAA tournament pretty closely and cringe at the thought of running up and down the floor right now.
You are 31 years old now and are going to hang up your sneakers after 7 professional seasons.
You probably wanted to keep playing, but injuries and your body have put a dent into your career. What physically is hindering you from continuing your basketball career?
Unfortunately I am suffering from a degenerative right knee. I had torn my meniscus while playing for MBC right before the season started, and I probably came back to play a little too soon, which really wasn’t good for my knee. The end result is a pretty beat up right knee.
Did you have a feeling in the last few years that your body might not be on the same page as you in terms of playing?
Kind of, but you fight through it. The mind can be a powerful tool. They always say “mind over matter” and it’s true to an extent. No matter how much pain I was in on a daily basis, once I got loose and warmed up I sometimes forgot about the pain and just played. After practice was a different story. It was hard to do daily chores, walking up and down stairs was even tough, but I was able to run up and down the court during practice. I guess that’s what our bodies are trained to do.
How tough was it making this decision to hang up the sneakers? Did you seek any advice from family, friends and players in the last months? If yes how did they help you best?
I didn’t really seek any advice, it was more like a voice inside saying it was time, but I wanted to see if I could get back to a level I was previously at. Once you realize you can’t then it can be pretty tough.
Could you still have continued your basketball career or was it best for you and your body to retire now?
I had a procedure done in December, and I’m still rehabbing. There are days I feel like I can go out onto the court and run up and down and just play, but I know it’s not that easy. I would probably have a good day once every two weeks at this point.
You played parts of three seasons in the Beko BBL in Germany. What are your fondest memories from this time?
Fortunately I had the opportunity to play with a lot of good guys. I’ll miss hanging out in the locker room before and after practice, cracking jokes w/ teammates. Also I’ll miss the Haribo “smurfs” candy. I don’t think they have those here.
You played two seasons for the Mitteldeutscher BC. The MBC family is very special. Do you still follow them? They are going back to the Beko BBL after a season in the PRO A.
I am very happy for them, and have kept an eye on their progress. It’s too bad they had to go through the process of dropping down and fighting to get back into the BEKO BBL, but the GM Martin Geissler has done a great job with that club in a small market, and he’s shown a commitment to putting out a quality product for the people of that community (Weissenfels).
With MBC, you played together with Anatoly Kashirov. You saw him develop. How were you able to help his game best?
I think I was able to keep his competitive juices flowing. I joined the team later in the year and I think the team had hit a bit of a rough patch, but I focused on coming to practice every day with a smile on my face and a positive attitude. Doing that every day can be contagious and it can help you to work harder and eventually adopting a winning attitude.
You started the season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. After starting with a 6 game losing streak, they have playoff ambitions now. How proud are you of the team and how important is coach Igor Perovic for the success?
– I’m very happy that the team was able to bounce back from adversity and show their true character. It’s not easy losing a lot of close games, especially early in the season, and then to bounce back the way they have is really special. I think Igor’s attitude went a long way in helping the team achieve their success. He’s a very calm and easygoing person, so it’s good that he didn’t get rattled early on and just approached every practice day by day, just like chipping away at a large deficit in a game. You don’t get it all back at once, you have to remain patient and continue working, and that’s exactly what they have done.
Besides in Germany, you also played in countries like Serbia, France and Greece. What was your favorite destination that you played at in your 7 year career?
I enjoyed my time in Serbia because I was able to reconnect with a lot of my family, some of whom I hadn’t seen or even spoken to since I was a child. That was pretty neat, as well as being able to brush up on my language skills.
You played together with Predrag Suput at KK Hemofarm Stada Vrsac. Did you ever think that the Serb would become such a dominant player in the Beko BBL?
– Definitely. He was probably our best player while we were together in Hemofarm, and coming from an institution in that country like Partizan, you know he is equipped with a good work ethic as well as high basketball IQ which he has shown throughout his time with Bamberg. He makes the game look very easy, but that is probably the hardest thing to do in any sport.
What are your fondest memories of ex Tiger Michael Haynes who you played a season with at : Stade Clermontois Basket Auvergne (France)? What was the most amazing thing that you saw him do in a game or practice?
– Taking care of his dog while we played together in France. My wife would watch the dog while we went on the road, and I spent some time with him as well, he was a pretty hyper guy (it was a boxer) and had a lot of energy. Mike is a great athlete and would routinely throw down windmills and dunk over people in practice. If you saw him driving down the lane you’d get out of his way b/c he might break your hand when he went up to dunk.
Is there anything that you regret that you couldn´t do as well on the court which you would have liked to have done better?
Not really, I had fun when I played and was always a “team first” kind of guy. I would always try and help the team win in any way necessary. If I need to rebound more, play defense and take charges, score, set screens, or just foul, I would do what was necessary. Maybe I could have been more selfish, but that wasn’t the type of player I was.
You played at Ohio State from 2000-2004. As a freshman, ex NBA player Ken Johnson was a senior. What do you remember most from his blocking ability?
– He had great timing. He would never leave his feet on shot fakes, and whenever you went up for a shot over him he would be there to meet you at the peak of your jump and be able to block the shot due to his athleticism and length.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA or in Europe that you will never forget?
– I don’t know if he was the best player I went up against but I won’t forget playing against Kris Humphries while he was at Minnesota and I was at Ohio State. It was always physical and I felt like I wanted to fight him, and I’m sure he felt the same way. I remember my then-teammate Terence Dials had a similar opinion at the time, but it was all in good fun and in the spirit of competitiveness.
What game will you never forget and why?
I think playing in the ULEB Cup (Euro cup now) semi-final against ARIS while I was with Hemofarm. I didn’t get a whole lot of playing time, but it was a great atmosphere in Thessaloniki, and the game went down to the wire with their point guard Terrel Castle hitting a layup in the lane in the final seconds to send their team to the final. We just fell short of reaching the final game, but it was a great experience nonetheless.
What plans do you have now? You just became a dad. Will your role as a dad be your biggest priority at the moment?
It definitely is at the moment, and for the foreseeable future as well. Right now, I’m just enjoying spending time with my wife and son, and keeping my options open as far as the next step career-wise.
What would you like basketball fans to remember most when they hear the name Velimir Radinovic?
That I always played as hard as I could and tried to have while doing so.
Thanks Velimir for the chat. Good luck for your future.