Janar Talts is a 31 year old 205 cm forward from Estonia that is playing his sixth season for Tartu Ulikool/Rock (Estonia-KML). He played in Germany at a young age for RheinEnergie Koln (Germany-1.Bundesliga) from 2004-2007 winning two Beko BBL cups. He also gained experience playing in Italy for Cimberio Varese (Italy-SerieA) from 2011-2013. Last season he played for Tartu Ulikool/Rock (Estonia-KML) EuroChallenge: 15 games: 9.8ppg, Reb-5(7.0rpg), 1.7apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 70.4%; Baltic League: 18 games: 9.9ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 72.7%; Estonian League: 31 games: 10.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP-1(66.9%), 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 63.5%. He spoke to German Hoops before todays Eurochallenge game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Janar thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. How often have you been back to Germany since leaving Cologne in 2007?
I haven´t been back so often. I think just one time. We played Eurochallenge against Artland some years ago.
You played three seasons in Germany for Rhein Energie Cologne. What did you learn to appreciate the most about the country of Germany?
Everything is very nice in Germany. The people are precise and the living quality is very good. The people were very kind to me and I liked living in Germany.
Tartu Rock 1-2 has a very important game in Eurochallenge play against the Fraport Skyliners who are 2-1. What does the team want to do better this time than in the first loss?
We have to play well to win, because Frankfurt play very well at home. We will change some things, but we have to play better than the first game in our place.
What can we expect from this game? Will this be a hard fought game that might not be pretty to watch as defense could be the main focus?
I hope that it will be low scoring again. It will surely be a hard fought game and I hope that we can enjoy a win.
Your head coach Gert Kullamae lost in Frankfurt more than 10 years in the Beko BBL final with Bamberg. Do you think he will have a lot of revenge to win today?
I know that was a very tough loss for Gert and Bamberg and they were sad, but we don´t talk about that. I don´t think that he will have that on his mind. He wants to win the Eurochallenge game the most.
Currently Tartu Rock is first in the KML standings with a record of 20-5. Could this be the year that Tartu brings the title back home again after last winning it in 2010?
I hope we will win again, but at the moment we aren´t as concentrated on the Estonian league, but are focused on the Eurochallenge.
You belong to the top scorers on the team and are the leading rebounder on the club. How important is your role of being a mentor for the younger players?
We have quite a few older players on the team. We all know each other from playing together here and on the national team. I don´t have to be a big role model. Every player knows what they have to do.
You won three Estonian league titles in 2003, 2008 and 2010. Which title was the sweetest for you?
The first one is always the sweetest.
You played two seasons for Cimberio Varese (Italy-SerieA). What were the most important basketball experience that you got in your two years there?
I had a nice time in Italy. It was a different style of basketball to what I was used to. The game in Italy is more fast and technical. At the start it was difficult getting used to the style, but after some time I got used to it.
You won three titles with Cologne with two cups and the league in 2006. How well do you still have the Alexander Nadjfeji shot in your mind?
I remember that shot well. It was in Bamberg, but we also had one against Alba Berlin which Immanuel Mcelroy hit. The Nadjfeji shot was very special. He wasn´t out best shooter than, but he just stepped up and made the shot. That win was fantastic in Bamberg
Which title in Cologne was the sweetest for you?
The 2006 league title was the sweetest. The cups are special, but winning that league title was the best. We won the last game at home and it was a big party.
You played with Sasa Obradovic and had him as a head coach. Has it surprised you how well he has developed as a head coach? He continues to win titles after winning early in his career with Cologne and now has won two cups with Alba Berlin and this season could win the league as well?
It doesn´t surprise me at all. Already as a player he was very precise in what he did and knew exactly what it took to get the job done. As a coach he was tough, but knew what it took to win games. He gets better as a coach as he keeps winning titles.
What was your fondest memory with Sasa Obradovic? He didn´t smile much on the court, but how did you get him to smile?
Sasa had his moments. When he is chilled he smiles. Before practice and games, he was very concentrated. When it was time to work he was very focused. He smiled after wins and is a good guy off the court.
You played with so many great players in your three years like Marcin Gortat, a young Tibor Pleiss, the energetic Michael Jordan or ex NBA player Devin Green. With what player did you have the most intensified relationship that helped you on and off the court?
I had the best relationship with Marcin Gortat off the court. We lived in same house for three years and were roommates on the road. He was a big prospect in Europe and it was no surprise that he went to the NBA. I saw him develop so much in those years. He worked so hard and deserved to be where he is. He is a role model for all young players as with hard work anything is possible.
Alexander Nadjfeji is 39 and your Tartu Rock teammate Valmo Kriisa is 40. How much longer are these two player still going to play?
I am not sure about Sasa since I haven´t seen him in a while, but it depends how he feels. I remember that he was the smartest four man that I ever played with. I think that Valmo can play a couple more years. He hasn´t had much injury problems so its possible that he may play some more years.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Joosep Toome?
It depends. Probably me. I hope me.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Janar for the chat.