German-Serbian Vladimir Bogojevic is an ex player that won 5 titles in Germany for teams Alba Berlin and Rhein-Energie Cologne. He also was a two time BBL allstar and played for the German national team at the 1997 and 1999 European Championships. Currently he is coach of the Alba Berlin U-19 youth team. He spoke to germanhoops.com leading up to the 2022 Final 4 tournament in Frankfurt.
Thanks Vladimir for talking to germanhoops.com. With what kind of feelings are you returning back to Frankfurt where you won your first JBBL title 5 years ago?
I’m always happy to be in Hessen. I played in Giessen at the start of my career. I also won a cup in Frankfurt with Cologne 2004. I have nothing but good memories from Frankfurt. If I will win again, we will see
After not having the NBBL Final 4 for two years, how excited are you to be a part of it again?
I am so happy. This isn’t fake. I was happy for every game that was played after the long Covid pause. It is fantastic to see how the boys are developing. Not being able to play games was really missed. Being able to work with the boys together is so great.
How strange is it being in your third season with Alba Berlin as NBBL coach and having the last two seasons not being completed. How much did the German youth development of talented basketball players get effected?
We were powerless. In the first Covid year everyone was just trying to find a gym to practice in. Nobody knew what to do in this time. Covid came from one day to the next. We were lucky to get the kids in the gym. We had a plan for every player, but it was a very tough, because we couldn’t test their development because there were no opponents. It was a real challenge. Then we were seeing easing in other countries like Spain where they began playing with masks. What we lost on time to develop players with competition, we will never know. We will never know how a player would have developed under normal circumstances.
How did you experience the years 2019-2021 as NBBL coach? Despite Covid and all the problems, how did you see the development of players come along?
We did all we could. Training is nice, but after a while you want to play games again. After a while all the training and practice lies. People get used to each other. We had something like 6 games in two years. Having those game situations is so important for the development of a young player. You can shoot 30 three’s in a row in practice with no defense, but then going 2/5 in a game is a different situation all over again.
What did you learn as a coach during Covid that you would never have experience had Covid not come?
That is a very good question. I learned to become more patient. I learned to be able to put it all better into perspective how to deal with young players.
Alba Berlin had a great regular season. How proud are you of the team considering there was a two year pause. It can score a lot, but also great defensively. How would you define the philosophy of the team?
Our philosophy in the NBBL is the same as for the pro players. We want to play quick and defend aggressively. The pro’s show us how to do it and we try to do what we can to follow it. We want to always be active and play with tempo in both directions. I hope that we can play with different types of tempo and hope we can make the next step.
The team is stocked as usual with a lot of talent. What is your secret as a coach to keeping your players happy with the roles and minutes?
We have the understanding from the players that they believe in what we say. We want to have a certain discipline and the guys know that they have to fight for their roles. I think having that attitude is the best for a player’s development. They know that if they don’t defend or don’t rebound, they won’t play. We believe in the players and try to find a solution as a team.
How important will the experience of Lademacher, Aydinoglu and Schule play? Could it be the difference between a title or not?
Their experience will play a big role. Ulm also has a lot of experience. It is very important that they will give us the needed stability and physicality. I really hope that we can profit from their development this season.
How special is Elias Rapieque? How is he different than brother Evans?
Both are really good boys. Elias has more experience at that age and is more calm.
How raw is a guy like Nils Machowski? What can we await from him in the Top 4?
Let us be surprised how he will play. I really like his calmness on the court. He has a lot of self-confidence. He always knows what to do. He always has a plan.
You have a very tough match up in the semi-final against ratiopharm Ulm that has 7 Pro B players. What kind of game can we await?
I’m so overjoyed and excited to play against ratiopharm Ulm. They also have a lot of guys playing Pro B. At this level, it is so difficult to make a prediction, because you never know what can happen during a game. They are a really good opponent.
You won the 2017 JBBL title with Alba Berlin and Franz Wagner. Are you surprised that he was able to have such a good rookie season in the NBA?
No I wasn’t surprised. One saw early on in his development that he was special. He proved everywhere where he played with us and in college that he can play. He went his path and succeeded. Luca Doncic once said it is easier to score 30 points in the NBA than in the Euroleague. Malte Delow also played in Frankfurt 5 years ago. He also has developed into a good pro.
Thanks Vladi for the chat.