Igor Perovic is in his fifth season as head coach for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He had a long playing career that lasted from 1991-2008. In this time, he played for teams like Partizan Beograd, Radnicki Beograd, Crvena Zvezda Beograd, Beopetrol Beograd, Gravelines (France), Hapoel Holon (Israel), Buducnost Podgorica, Elitzur Qiryat Ata/Motzkin (Israel-Premier L.), TSK Wurzburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga), Lavovi 063 Beograd and for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) from 2005-2008. It hasn´t been the easiest of seasons for the club as two months ago, it seemed like the team would move down, but they rallied and won five of their last eight games and had the chance on the last game day to stay in the league with a win against Phoenix Hagen. Perovic spoke to German Hoops about that last game.
There is one game left in the Beko BBL season. After the loss to medi bayreuth on March 15th, most had Tuebingen moved down. However since then the Tigers have won five of eight games and have a chance on the last game day. Were you confident from the start of the last eight games that your team had the fight and will to make this come back?
I think we played much better in the last few months. We had a lot of problems with injuries this season and in last two months we didn’t have these problems. I knew we had the quality to win games and I was optimistic. We never stopped to fight.
What has been the secret of the recent success? Winning in Frankfurt in the last seconds and beating the Artland Dragons by 40 points must have been enough reason that your team can play with anyone?
Win in Frankfurt and great game against Artland were important games for us and showed us directions we havd to go.
How difficult has this season been for you? Management always supported you. How thankful are you of Robert Wintermantal for the trust?
This is the most difficult season for me. My team never had any problems with injuries in my first four seasons and this season was a night mare for us if we talk about loosing players because of injuries or sickness. Robert Wintermantel is my biggest supporter and I think that not many GM’s would do the same thing that he did. The club was under big pressure to make changes but they decided to stay behind me. I am very thankful for that support. I know one thing, this season is the most important in my coach career and I have learned so much from this season.
Daequan Cook has really stepped it up in the last four games hitting 15 three pointers. Did you give him some extra motivation recently?
He wasn’t in the best shape at the beginning and he needed some time to get in shape to play on the level he plays now. He is the best shooter I have seen in my life.
What have you been most proud of the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in the last eight games? In what area of their game have they really improved to have gotten their season to where they are now?
I am proud of my 3 players Young, Harris and Nadjfeji. Because of injuries we had to bring new players during the season and since we have signed Cook we have 8 foreigners and most of the time they have to rotate. They have sacrificed themselves for the team. If we talk about basketball we started to shoot better than before and we played with more self-confidence.
Tuebingen had injury problems and Johannes Lischka not being able to help out to 100% also has been difficult to swallow. What have you learned from the Johannes Lischka situation this season?
That was the key moment this year. He was one of the best German players last season and we were very satisfied with his development last year. We had built the team around him. After his sickness we couldn’t find German player to replace for him. For the small club like Tübingen is very hard if you lose When Lischka came back he needed much more time to recover to be the same player like before. The biggest problem was his speed because he gained about 15 kilos after surgery. We should have waited that he lose weight and put him in the team than.
The Walter TIgers Tuebingen have won the season head to head series against the s.Oliver Baskets. Tuebingen just has to win to stay in the league. Where does this game rank up in the importance of games in your playing and coaching career?
The game against Hagen will be the biggest game for me as a coach. I know that my team will be prepared and motivated to play that game and I hope will end good for us.
What memories do you have of the huge 95-78 win in Hagen? Bane Ratkovica steered 31 points and Anatoly Kashiriv 21 points. The self confidence of the Tigers must be high going into the game?
I remember that we controled that game from the beginning. Ratkovica and Kashirov played great game but I know how important wasHarris in that game because he played sick or Mittmann who had 13 rebounds.
Phoenix Hagen like the run and gun game and like to shoot the lights out. Will we see a similar type of game like in Hagen or different as Phoenix Hagen´s season is over and have nothing to play for.
Hagen is tough team to play against. They have their style of basketball and they had success with that. I know they want to win the game like I would like to win if my team is in the same situation like they are now.
What are your picks in the Euroleague Final 4? Real Madrid-FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow vs Panathinaikos Athens. Who will reach the final and win it all?
I would like to see CSKA and Real in the final.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The kingdom of heaven.
Thanks Igor for the chat.