Stefan Jankovic (211-C-1993, college: Hawaii, agency: Slash Sports)s a 28 year old 211cm center from Canada that is playing his sixth professional season and first with the Taishin Dreamers (Taiwan-PLeague+). He began the season with Tmoki-Minsk (VTB League). In his first 5 professional seasons he has gathered a lot of experience in countries like Serbia, Greece and Turkey. He also played in Europe’s top league Euroleague with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS). He also played in the G-League with Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Capital City Go Go. He played 86 NCAA games for the University Of Missouri and the University of Hawaii (NCAA) and as a senior averaged 15.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 76.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career when he was playing with Tmoki-Minsk.
Stefan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. You have achieved so much for age 28 playing in the NCAA, NBA, and Euroleague. Do you think that if their hadn’t been a basketball court and had you not moved to that Serbian basketball community at a young age, you might never have become a professional basketball player?
I mean I think I would still be involved in basketball simply because I was always tall growing up and being from Serbia basketball is one of our biggest sports.
Your playing your sixth professional season and first with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League). You have played in many countries like Italy, Serbia, Greece and Turkey. What kind of an experience has it been playing here and how realistic is a title in the Fiba Europe Cup.
It’s been great so far and I definitely think we have a chance to make some noise in the fiba eurocup this year
You have had a unique career and so has your teammate Darol-Hernadez-Zinenko. What kind of an experience has it been playing with the guy who is called the Russian?
We all call him Daro and it’s been good I think we compliment each other at the 4/5.
Last season you split time with KK Partizan NiS Beograd (Serbia-KLS) and Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) averaging 6.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 72.7%. You have split time with 2 teams a few times in your career. How tough was that season after you came off an injury?
Last year was definitely one of the more tougher seasons especially my time at Partizan not really playing at all and then finally finding a spot near the end of the season in Turkey and trying to finish the season strong but I definitely need a season where I can put together some continuity.
In 2019-2020 you split time with AEK Athens (Greece-A1) averaging 6.9ppg, 2.7rpg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3FGP: 38.5%, FT: 76.5%; and played with Capital City Go-Go (NBA G League) averaging 5.0ppg, 2.6rpg. In Greece you played with one of the best Euroleague players in the last 15 years with Keith Langford. What will you never forget from him as a player and person?
Keith was probably the best scorer I played with in Europe so far, that guy was a bucket and a great guy as well, good vet to be around.
After being in Europe for two years you returned back to the G-League. How do you feel had your game grown overseas in the time between your two G-League stints?
I definitely feel like I improved being overseas, especially with my understanding of the game but my second stint in the G league was cut short due to Covid.
In the 2018-2019 season you played for BC Partizan NiS Beograd (Serbia-KLS) averaging 6.8ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 63.2% and averaged 6.1ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 48.7%, FT: 70.4%; Eurocup: 13 games: 4.9ppg, 2.8rpg in the Adriatic League. What memories do you have battling your ex team Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd and losing a brutal playoff series?
That was a tough year as well, went through some coaching changes and the transfer from Red Star to Partizan but I mean it was still a good year and a great battle with some of my former teammates in the red star but ultimately they had a better team at that moment.
In the 2017-2018 season you played with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS) averaging 7.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 68.9%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 56.5%; and averaging 3.8ppg, 2.5rpg in the Euroleague. What do you remember being your wake up call coming from many years in the States to playing your first season overseas?
That was definitely my most difficult year of basketball because of the crazy transition from going to playing in the states to playing in the Euroleague but at the same time I really enjoyed being back home that year after a long time being in the states and Canada.
You played twice against Real Madrid splitting and saw Luka Doncic put up 20 and 24 points. Everoyne knew he was good then, but did you think then that he would dominate the NBA the way he has?
I mean I don’t think anyone knew he would be dominating the NBA this fast but you could see then that his talent was unbelievable and the way he made the game look that easy and that young of an age you knew he was going to be special.
You were teammates with Pero Antic. What do you remember from your battles with him in practice. How did your game profit from his presence?
Pero was a euroleague legend, and to have him as my vet in my first year was huge, I definitely learned a lot of stuff from him on the court and off as well.
You played your rookie season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) and the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) averaging 13.6ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 81.5. You had some very good games that season and proved you could play with former and future NBA players. You put up pretty good stats for 24 minutes. Had you played 33-34 minutes you probably would have landed in the NBA. Do you agree with that notion?
I mean honestly who knows, I think that rookie year was unlucky for me in all because I got injured during training camp with the Heat and then broke my hand after 3 games in the G league.
Before you played your rookie season you played NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat. Did you notice then how tough it is in general for bigs to present their game when the league is dominated by guards?
Definitely , especially in the G league but I mean you still have to find a way to involve yourself.
In 2017 you played one more time in the NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic. The NBA dream never ends. Were you disappointed by how your experience went in the G-League and NBA dream?
You could say so, I injured myself in that summer league as well and so I wouldn’t say I gave myself a fair shot but life goes on and it is what it is I can only focus on the present.
In high school you once recorded an amazing quadruple double of 18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks. What memories do you have of that game? Did this game open doors for you and put scouts on your radar?
At that point I was playing the small forward in high school so I was all over the place but I think that was my junior year and I had already really been on the radar throughout my high school career but still was something special.
You began at the University of Missouri (NCAA) but transferred to University of Hawaii. You left Missouri with no hard feelings seeking a better fit. What positives do you believe could you get out of your time there?
I was there with a bunch of NBA guys and euro pros so that prepared me for the next level especially being my first year in college.
At Hawaii you had two good seasons and made a big jump as a senior. How did head coach Eran Ganot groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Being at Hawaii gave me an opportunity to showcase all my skills and really show all the development I had been working on throughout the college years.
Was reaching the NCAA tournament in 2016 your biggest achievement in the NCAA? What memories do you have of the big win vs California and the loss against Maryland?
That whole year was just a movie and especially that tournament mini run we had. It was a special year and special group of guys.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Stefan Jovanovic?
Who was the best player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
Jaylen Brown, or Buddie Hield
Who were your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Andrew Wiggins, Goran Dragic, Jordan Clarkson, Robert Upshaw since he’s right next to me and in Europe either Keith Langford or Eric Green.
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal
Will Luka Doncic one day be the greatest player in the NBA?
Did you see the sequel to the classic movie Coming To America? Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I didn’t honestly
Thanks Stefan for the chat.