Matej Kljaic (189-PG-93) is a 27 year old 189cm point guard from Croatia that is playing his second season for the Bona Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga). Before coming to Limburg he played a season with TV Idstein (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 15 games avergaing 9.6ppg, 4.3rpg, Assists-2 (7.1apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.7%. In that season he recorded a triple double against Sutggart. Before that he played his career in his native Croatia. He had early experience playing for the U-16 Austrian national team and U-18 Croatian national team. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball after the win over the Fellbach Flashers.
Thanks Matej for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the big 91-77 win against Fellbach. What were the main reasons for the win?
The key tonight was defense. We had beat them last summer with our zone and did it again this time. Once our zone worked we played with more confidence on offense and had better ball movement. We played team basketball.
Your playing your second season with the Bona Baskets Limburg. How tough was last season starting the season and then having it abruptly stopped and What were the biggest challenges for you with COVID?
It was tough that all gyms were closed and we couldn’t practice. Some teams practiced while others didn’t. We didn’t have our school gym. I found another solution and went home and practiced with my old team.
How do you feel did you get stronger as a man with everything that you experienced?
I saw the world in a different light
Talk a little about your experience with the Bona Baskets Limburg. What have you enjoyed most about playing for head coach Danny Stallbohm?
I have a lot of freedom in Limburg to play my game. I have the confidence to give my maximum. I am able to lead the team.
How much fun is it throwing up the ball to the rim and knowing that KJ Sherril will get it and score?
It is a lot of fun. I love our pick and roll game. We have played more than a half year but really know each other well. We always find a solution together.
What kind of an experience has it been being teammates with Justin Stallbohm? What have you enjoyed most with his game?
Justin is a great player, guy, friend and three point shooter. When he is hitting shots, he makes everything easier for us. He opens up our inside game.
You’re a top point guard in the German Regionalliga with 20/3/6 stats. Have you ever wondered if you could average a double double with points and assists?
Yes of course I have. I have never been a guy that looks at the stats, but I first watch the team results.
I feel like you could easily play in the German Pro B. How big is your motivation to keep moving up the basketball ladder?
I hope I can play in the Pro B one day. I looked last summer, but there was no interest. Then I came to play for Danny. I like playing with Limburg. Here I can wait for new opportunities. I am a physical therapist, but in order to do that job in Germany, I need to know the language. I’m taking German courses. Currently I work at DHL delivering packages.
You are a very quick point guard that can get to the basket easily. Who were your role models growing up?
I enjoyed watching Vassilis Spanoulis and Dimitris Diamantidis
On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to improve your game?
I work on everything. My shooting, dribbling and pick and roll situations. But I actually learn more from watching. I have been watching Euroleague since I was 16 years old.
Two seasons ago you played in Idstein. You had a triple double against Idstein. What memories do you have of that game?
I remember that game. It was in Stuttgart. I didn’t know I had reached a triple double until I saw the stats. That was my best game in Germany.
You played in your homeland in your early years. Now you have been in Germany some years. Do you think you might play in other countries in the future?
I’m very happy in Germany, but I wouldn’t mind playing in Spain. I think it’s the best country for basketball.
When you were 17 you played against future NBA player Bojan Bogdanovic. What memories do you have of this battle?
He is a great player. But I played against many great players. I also played against Mike James.
Who was the best player that you ever faced?
Matjaz Smodis. He was the strongest player that I ever played against. I was guarding Dontaye Draper and Smodis made me scream on the screen.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Justin Stallbohm?
Me of course.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The series You.
Thanks Matej for the chat.