Toni Prostran (183-PG-1991) is a 31 year old 183 cm guard playing his second season in Germany with the Iserlohn Kangaroos. He began his basketball career in his home land for KK Zadar and also played with KK Zagreb. He left Croatia in 2014 to gather new experiences in other countries like Sweden, Portugal and France. He also played in the Greek first division and first division in Lithuania. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a do or die game in Koblenz.
Toni thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball treating you?
Hello to all germanhoop.com readers I am very thankful that you decide to make an interview with me. I am right now in Germany (Iserlohn), basketball is treating me very well and at the moment I feel the best.
On Thursday is a do or die game in Koblenz. Are you a bit angry the team didn’t win game one in Koblenz losing 73-70? With a win there, you could of already been a round further?
Yes , we had big chance to beat Koblenz in the first game, but that is basketball, we made little bit more mistakes and I have really big respect for them, so they deserved that victory,
The EPG Baskets Koblenz are very talented and can score. What was key in game 2 to holding tis explosive offensive team to only 61 points? How confident are you that Iserlohn will have a good stacked deck of cards on Thursday? Will Iserlohn have an enjoyable pre Easter trip back home Thursday night?
Before the second game we watched video from the first game and we saw that Koblenz scored 20 fastbreak points and that was the key. We stopped that in the second game, and then our defense was much better, and I think that is the way how we need to start the game, and hopefully our shooting will be little bit better so I think we have a big chance to beat them again but for sure it will be a great game to watch it and also to play
You played Eurocup at age 17, played in first division in Croatia, Greece and Lithuania. Your 30 years old and in your prime and last season almost averaged a double double. Why are you playing in Germany Pro B? Do you feel like you haven’t had the respect of higher league teams the last few years.
That was my decision to move to the Iserlohn Kangaroos. Before I sign here I had 2 options from LKL and also two offers from Sweden and one from the second Spanish league. Also last summer after my first season with the Kangaroos and during this season I had a few offers, so I think it is not that I don’t have respect, but it was time to think about family. I did a lot in my career and my pro career was always first, but my daughter started to get older, and it was time to think about her. I didn’t want that I am in Lithuania and my wife and daughter in Croatia because of daughter’s school and every year changing school. It is not fair for her so that summer I was looking to find an option where I will be happy because I still want to play basketball while on the other hand that my wife and daughter stay with me. If you put on the side KK Zadar, Cibona , Split who didn’t offer me , other teams in Croatia have problems with the budget, so my friend and ex teammate Jozo Brkic told me about the Iserlohn Kangaroos who was there for 2 years and told me great things about it.
How blessed are you to be playing in Iserlohn and getting the trust of Michael Dahmen? What have you enjoyed most about the organization in Iserlohn?
I talked with Michael Dahmen and he was super nice and when I explained to him what my reason was to come there he and his wife ( Zlata) who is also working in the club helped me a lot , to me and my family, and I can say that this is for sure my 2 best seasons ,not because of basketball, but because we feel here like at home and that is for sure because people from the club help us. I really enjoy to be here and also I am coach of the U16 team so I think with my experience I can also help a lot the young guys, and that is what I will like more in the future.
You’re a scoring point guard that can dish out many assists. To what NBA player would you compare your game and are guys like Spannoulis and Teodosic role models for you?
If I need to compare with myself with those type of guys, I think I am more a type of PG like Teodosic in Europe and Chris Paul in the NBA. I like that the ball is in my hand and that I control the game, play a lot Pick and roll and what is most important for me is to make my teammates happy and try to help them to put them in the best situation on the court.
You can fill the stat sheet like no other. The last two seasons you were close to a triple double. What is missing from achieving that? Maybe you have to ask some of your bigs to let you get a few more rebounds? Lol
Hahah yes , during my career I was so many times close to make triple doubles but big guys definitely made me problems. I should talk with them, that is for sure on my list to do it.
In 2019-2020 you played with Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-NM1) playing 26 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 80.3%. When you look back what do you feel were the reasons for you not dominating more in the French third division? Did the athletic game not fit your game as much?
That season I played only 17 minutes per game so I think 7.4 pts and 4.5 ass is ok for the role I had. There were a few games where I had 10 assists for only 16 minutes played, but that season Saint Vallier had 10 really good players, and we all shared the minutes, and when I signed there I knew which role would be mine. In that moment after a bad injury and bad luck in Porto that was best for me honestly. I am really sorry that because of corona we finished the season earlier. Also I think if I played around 25-30 minutes I would have had verry good stats similar to here, because I like to play with athletic guys because it is easier to make assists. It was a really good experience for me, so many good players and guys. Saint Vallier will stay in good memory for me also because of the fans and people from the club. I am still in contact with so many people from the St. Vallier and I was really happy when they made it to Pro B.
In 2018-2019 you played with FC Porto (Portugal-LPB) averaging 8.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 66.0%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 79.3%; and played 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 9.0ppg, 1.3rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 28.0%. What kind of an experience was it playing for such a famous organization? What memory from this season will you never forget?
The season with FC Porto was a season which I felt most sorry for. I played with so many teams in the Euroleague and Eurocup, but FC Porto has for sure the best facilities and a super organization. I will give you one example. I had a muscle injury , so next door from our locker room, the doctor checked me with an ultrasound. After that he sent me to the MRI which is in the FC Porto clinic which is part of the gym and soccer stadium. When I got the result my physio Fabio start with the therapy, so that was everything in one hour. Then in the gym you have jacuzzi, sauna, cold pool, for the therapy. Everything what you can imagine, and after practice you can choose which protein bars you want. Then you go on the trip and you have special food. It was so super super professional. I came to Porto i think in the best shape ever. All summer I practiced with my brother and I felt perfect. I remember in a pre season test in Porto I was very good and one of the best, but after 10 days of practice I got hit in practice and had a big rupture, so the doctor said that I need to be out for 5 weeks. Every professional player knows how bad it is to miss preseason practice ,and especially for the PG like me, so I was back one day before our firs official game. I played some games really good, but because we played Fiba Cup and Portugusee league i didn’t have time for the practice so I was out of the shape, and then in March after one practice, I had a bad ankle injury that I had to stop for the rest of the season. In general I have very nice memories but i am sure if I had stayed healthy that season would have been my best season for sure, but that is life so I am thankful that I am healthy right now.
You began the 2017-2018 season with Kolossos H Hotels (Greece-A1) playing 6 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.3apg, 2FGP: 57.1%, 3FGP: 22.7%, FT: 66.7%. What kind of an experience was it being teammates with talented point guard TJ Bray who retired very young. Was he able to benefit a little from your court vision?
The season in Greece was a great opportunity for me, but I think I made mistakes that I didn’t stay one more season in the LKL, but everything happens for a reason. T.J Bray is a very nice guy, great player and I am really sorry that he is not still playing, but also that season we had a very good team and it was a good great experience for me.
You played 16 minutes against Euroleague powerhouse Olympiakos scoring 2 points in 16 minutes. Was this team from the talent one of the best you ever played with with numerous ex NBA players and great Greek players? What memories do you have of this team Olympiakos?
I remember that game. I scored my first points against Printzeis and I was very proud , but like you say great team with great players, and for sure one of the best teams I played against that season. I also remember the game against Panathinaikos and the matchup with Nick Calathes and my best game against Aek. That season they won the Fiba champions league and we beat them in Rhodos and in that game I scored 13 points and had 6 assists in 22 minutes.
In 2016-2017 you played with Nevezis Kedainiai (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 11.0ppg, 2.5rpg, Assists-1 (7.0apg), FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 76.1%; and played 15 Baltic League games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.4rpg, Assists-1 (9.3apg), FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 64.7%. Was this one of your or your best season as a professional stat wise? You led 2 leagues with a high assist rate in high leagues?
I’m very proud of my season in Lithuania. It was definitely my best season. I’m sorry that I didn’t stay longer in the league. It perfectly fit my style of game.
How much did your game profit from the Lithuanian league? It seems like playing with high IQ players helped your IQ?
It is very hard to play there because every team makes great scouting for other teams and players so that season for sure made me better. That season I showed that I can play at a high level. I will always remember my first game against Zalgiris , and other games against Rytas, Lietkebelis ( that season played Eurocup) and games against Juventus and
Pieno where I had 15 assists. Also I am proud of the fact that I made a Baltic league record with 17 assists in one game against Barcy. I have really great memories and the LKL league is for sure one of the top leagues in Europe.
You played in Sweden from 2014-2016 with teams 2015: Norrkoping Dolphins (Sweden-Basketligan) averaging 16.2ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-2 (6.3apg), FGP: 54.6%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 83.7% and with BC Lulea (Sweden-Basketligan) averaging 15.1ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-1 (7.2apg), FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 74.7%. This was your first time away from your home land Croatia. How important were these two seasons for your further basketball development?
That was a great decision from my side, because I was looking for a place to play where I will have lot of minutes, key players, and the move to Sweden was so good for me. I think lot of people underestimate the league, but if you watch that league first you can see very nice gyms with great atmosphere , very good players and so many good players come from the first league. When I am watching the Swedish national team I am very happy to see so many players who played with me or against me and now they are in top leagues in Europe. So in those two seasons I was in top 5 of the league by eurobasket.com and that season help me a lot for the LKL.
Is the 74-73 loss to Uppsala in the playoffs were you were stopped well after having three good games against them prior to game four one of those loses you will never forget?
Yes that game was my worst in Sweden. We were down 2-1 and went to Upssala. That game I scored 26 points, but a few days after I played terrible and we didn’t make it to the semifinals. We had that season a very good team with the best big guy Jocke Kjelboom, great experienced schooter Mike Linquest and American 4 man Dominique Morrison. If you look at the Uppsala roster were also great. That series was so fun to play, but I am a little disappointed about my last game but Norrkoping will always stay in my heart because 2-3 days after my last game against Uppsala my daughter born there.
You began your career with KK Zadar. What memories do you have of your early basketball schooling? What memories do you have being teammates with 16 year old American Corey Brewer who was an incredible player at Oklahoma (NCAA) but never made the NBA. Was he one of your first contacts with an American in Croatia?
Corey Brewer is the best American player I played with. For me being a 16 years old guy it was so important to have that type of guy. He taught me a lot of tricks which I used during my career. He is a great person. Last year we talked little bit by facebook. I will always remeber him.
Another player that you were teammates with in young years was the great Croatian point guard Rok Stipcevic. What memories do you have of him and the battles? He was 5 years older than you and just starting his career. He is still active today.
Rok is a hard worker, so for me it is not surprising that he is still playing at a high level. A lot of young players need to follow him and look to take care of your body. Everything he was able to make in his career was because of his work attitude. I have a lot of respect for him.
In those first years you had many coaches with Sagadin, Pleslic and Petrovic. How beneficial was it in young years to have had so many coaching philosophies help shape your game?
During my career i had a lot of great coaches and about everybody I can say a lot, but definitely Zmago Sagadin was the best. When you are young you sometimes don’t understand why it is important to take care about some details, but he opened my eyes for sure. Before him basketball for me was just to take of the ball and try to score. After that I started to read the game and then I saw the other side of basketball, and right now as I am older I understand everything what he did. The way he prepared for the game, drills what we did helped me a lot in my career. After that I always was best in assists of my team and also in leagues. That is for sure is his credit. I didn’t leave Zadar because of him, but for another reason.
You already played ULEB Cup at age 16 with KK Zadar. What are your early memories of your 7 games. Do you remember playing against some really famous players at that time? Were you in awe or could you keep your emotions intact?
Yes Uleb Cup will be always be a good memory because I scored my first points in senior basketball against Turow and my game against Strasbourg when I scored 12 pts in 16 minutes. At that time Uleb was so good, and unfortunately we lost against great team Pamesa Valencia.
You then played two seasons with KK Zagreb from 2009-2012. What memories do you have of this time? You were teammates with Mario Kasun and a young Mario Hezonja. Was it apparent in 2009 that this guy could get to the NBA?
KK Zagreb was the season after I was the best PG at Fiba WC U19 and Fiba EU U18. I decided to sign for KK Zagreb which was great for the young players, so that season they brought in the best young players from Croatia, but then they changed their minds. They signed so many good players with big contracts and won the Croatian league and after that played Euroleague so there was not much space for us young players to have playing time. Also I had surgery and I played for the second team and I practiced with so many good players. In Zagreb we had a lot of great players. Damir Mulaomerovic in his prime time was one of the best PG in Europe. Some others were Krunoslav Simon , Damir Rancic, Saso Ozbolt, Luka Zoric, Sean May , Damir Markota and others , also Mario Kasun, nba player. When you watched him on the TV you can can get a little bit scared because of his tattoo and the way he played , but he is very nice guy, and he always joked with us young players. I have a lot of nice stories from from KK Zagreb but it is better to keep some for myself. But it was really fun to practice and the share locker room with so many great players. – in Zagreb. I played with two great talents Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja, super guys great players. I am so proud and happy when I see how good they made their career they make. They still have a lot of seasons ahead. I hope Dario will come back soon from his injury and continue in Phoenix, and about Hezonja I think for me he is the best player in the Euroleague at his position. Both are great guys and they didn’t change during these years.
You then returned back to KK Zadar from 2012-2014. Getting minutes in your homeland wasn’t easy. Was this a reason why you then headed to Sweden and since had a great career away from Croatia?
After Zagreb I went back again to Zadar. Honestly it was hard for me, because I lost 2 years and to play in the Adriatic league without confidence is hard, but my first year after I was back I will remember because of great chemistry we had during the season. We beat Eurocup team Cedevita in the semi-finals in a great atmosphere. But yes, like I said before, the reason I left Zadar and moved to Sweden was because I wanted to be a key player.
You played against so many great players in these two seasons like Leo Westermann, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Igor Rakecevic, Bracey Wright, Michael Gelabale, DJ Strawberry, Justin Hamilton, Jusuf Nurkic, Dario Saric, Tarence Kinsey and Joffrey Lauvergne. These are some of the incredible guys you played against from 2012-2014 not too mention all the others the seasons before. Is there one guy you will be telling your grand children about?
I really played against a lot of great players and it’s crazy when I look back and think about that but definately when I will have grand children I will talk a long time. My TOP ones are Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Even Fournier, Tyshon Taylor, Dean Musli , Nico Pappas , Nicolo Melli , and Can Mutaf
You were teammates with Romeo Travis. He was a great player and funny guy. Do you remember him telling Lebron James stories?
Rome is great guy. We talked a lot about LeBron because I am a big LeBron fan, so I was so happy when I heard that Rome would sign for Zadar. There were so many good stories about their days oi high school and also LeBron put on his Twitter our game against Partizan when Rome made the last points for the win.
Who was the greatest player that you ever played against?
Like I said before, I played against so many great players, but the best is Klay Thompson. I played against him at the U19 Fiba WC in Auckland.
Please mention your five best teammates of all-time?
I will put players with which I like and played with the most in practice and games. 1- Corey Brewer (KK Zadar) 2- Damir Rancic ( KK Zadar, KK Zagreb ), 3- Ivan Batur ( KK Zadar, Cro U16, U18, 19) 4-Mario Delas ( Cro U18, U19) 5- Jaruan Burrows ( BC Lulea)
Will Luka Doncic one day be the greatest player in the NBA?
I think Luka Doncic is already one of the greatest player ever in the NBA. He is an amazing player, great court vision, and i enjoy to watch him.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just watched the Godfather for the 100th time.
Thanks Toni for the chat.