Rasko Katic is a 33 year old 208cm center that is playing his first season for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga Endesa). He started his basketball career in 2002 for Zastava Kragujevac (1B). He came to Germany in 2005 where he played four seasons for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and was a dominat big man in the BBL. He twice was second top rebounder in the league. He then played a season for KK Hemofarm Stada Vrsac (A League) and four seasons for Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (KLS). He recently played at the World Cup in Spain -14 (Silver): 6 games: 2.7ppg, 1.0rpg. He spoke to German Hoops before the eurocup game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Rasko thanks to talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. What have you missed most from Germany since leaving in 2009?
I miss almost everything in Germany. Tuebingen was like a second home to me. I have nothing negative to say about my four years in Tuebingen. I really miss how well everything was organized in Germany. You always knew where to go and what to do in Germany.
You last played in Bonn in the 2008-2009 season where the Telekom dome was opened. What memory do you have from playing with Tuebingen in Bonn in that season?
I played in the new gym, but don´t really have memories of that. I remember the old small gym and all that pink which seemed to be everywhere. They had very good teams, but not top or bottom teams. My career took off in Germany and this is where I became a good player.
You played four seasons in Germany where you belonged to the dominant big men in the BBL. How important was your experience in Germany for the further development of your game?
Tuebingen was almost essential. What good happened in my basketball career was because of my move to Germany. I was at a low point in my young career at age 25. I had had no team for 6-7 months and Tuebingen just took me. The first half of my first season in Tuebingen wasn´t good, but I then had 3.5 good years with Tuebingen. Tuebingen was the most important time in my career.
After your fourth season in Tuebingen you returned back home. Were you home sick?
No I wasn´t home sick. I still want to come back to Tuebingen to finish my career. I will keep my word.
After such great stats, didn´t you get better offers from top teams in Germany? Why did you go back home?
I had some offers from Germany including form Alba Berlin 2.5 years ago. After Tuebingen, I decided to return to my country because at that time I simply thought it was better for my career.
You won the cup 4 times in the last four years twice with BC Partizan MT:S Beograd. How big of a achievement was that for you?
This was a good experience as it isn´t easy, but hard to do that. But I also won other titles in Serbia. I had very much success in Serbia and I was lucky to always play for teams that liked to fight for titles. There is a big difference too teams that don´t fight.
Two years ago you played with Igor Rakocevic who seemed not to get slow with age? Like him you also seemed not to age on the basketball court. Where you able to learn from his non aging ability on the court?
Igor is three years older than I am and at that time I was 30-31 when we were teammates and he was 34. I actually had learned how to act at an older age in terms of taking care of my body. Knowing when to rest and how to protect yourself of small injuries is essential. Igor is a professional and just understood how to take care of his body. He cared very much about his body and it showed on the court.
You are playing in the best league in Europe with almost 34 years for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga). You have a new challenge and are an important role player on the team. What has been the most difficult thing getting adjusted to the Spanish top league?
It is a different type of basketball in Spain as it is quicker. But after having played for so many years like I have there really isn´t anything complicated about basketball. The game is quite basic and the only thing that you must do is adjust to a new team. There is more running, shooting and setting quick screens in Spain. I only need about 1-2 weeks to get adjusted to a new team and system.
The top scorer is fellow Serb Stevan Jelovac. How important has he been for you in practice to keep pushing you as he is 208cm like you.
He plays the position four and I have so much experience and don´t need anybody to push me. It is good though when you have a country man on the team that speaks your language. I am an older guy and just know how to work on the court.
CAI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga) has started 1-1 and face 0-2 Bonn. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning?
Bonn will react to their 0-2 record in Eurocup play. They lost a very close game in Strassburg and will be ready for us. They play good basketball and it will be a hard game.
Congrats on winning a silver medal at the 2014 World championships in Spain. What will you never forget from the 129-92 loss to the United States when you were on the court? You played 8 minutes scoring two points.
That was a great experience for me. I was really amazed that I got the chance to play against the best in the world and that we made the final with the whole world watching. We had a great team and coach that kept us together. He gave us the essentials that every team needs. He believed in us that we could go far.
How proud were you being the third center behind current NBA player Miro Raduljica and ex NBA played Nenad Kristic and the 2014 World Championships? Had someone told you years ago that you would be going to a world championships at age 33 and be back up to two NBA players what would you have thought?
I am a more wise guy now, but to be honest when you are young, you are taught that nothing is impossible. You never think of the meaning until you achieve something. I never would have thought back then that I could reach the level where I am now. I always practiced hard and if you do that good things will come. If you give 100% then all will be good at the end of the day.
In how many years do you see BogdanBogdanovic playing in the NBA and can he be a dominating player?
Bogdan has come a long way. I know him since many years, we were roommates and he was the 12th man then. I am sure that he will reach the NBA in 1-2 years, but if he is dominant depends on him. The NBA is very different to the European style. You need a lot more than talent, but many small things. He has worked very hard to get to where he is and am sure he will continue to do so.
You played two seasons with current Tuebingen head coach Igor Perovic. Could you imagine being his assistant coach some day?
I never talk about the future, because I still think that I can play a few more years. I am occupied with playing now and will continue to work hard until my body says its time to stop. Igor and I are great friends and talk every 3-4 days.
You also played three seasons with AJ Moye. He retired in 2011 on account of a stroke. What is your fondest memory with him?
I remember him as a very positive influence on the team. He was a fighter that always worked hard. He also was very loud
Who smiled more in Tuebingen in a day you or Kenny Wiliams?
Fear the beard. I am not sure. I don´t know how I look to other people, but they often say I show no expression on the court. Maybe Kenny would beat me.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Rasko for the chat.