The Rickey Paulding Appreciation Week With Marco Buljevic: My First Day Predrag Krunic Had Me Playing 1-1 And Rickey Made Me Look Good So I Could Make A Good Impression

Marco Buljevic (197-SG-1987) is a 35 year old 197cm shooting guard that recently finished his 18th professional season and first with the EN Baskets Schwelm. He began his career in Ehingen and played 4 years in the easyCredit BBL from 2006-2010 amassing 65 games with Giessen and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. He then played 6 years in the second division Pro A with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets playing 182 games and averaged in double figures scoring in 5 of those 6 seasons. He then played the last 6 years in the Pro B with teams Schalke, Bochum and Schwelm totaling 84 games. He shared the court with Rickey Paulding form 2008-2010 and shares his memories.

Thanks Marco for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

I’m in Greece on vacation with my wife and two sons. Lately I’ve been watching lots of basketball, NBA and Euroleague. I keep telling myself I need more sleep. Never works. Games are just too damn good.

You just finished your 18th professional season with the EN Baskets Schwelm. How do you feel? Will you continue next season?

Now that you say 18 seasons I definitely feel like I’m close or maybe even at the finish line. I feel fine. Will I continue? No clue right now.

Has some of that longevity that Rickey Paulding has shown rubbed off on you that has allowed you to play so long?

What’s allowed me to stay around is just not being able to live without basketball so far.

After your last season in the BBL in 2010, you played 6 Pro A seasons and 6 Pro B seasons. Why do you feel couldn’t you have a BBL career like others?

After my fourth BBL season where I was on a Euroleague team but didn’t get to play a lot, I wanted to be on the floor 35 minutes plus. I was able to get that in the Pro A. I enjoyed it, found a home, went to university, got married and became a two time father. I simply did not want to move around anymore. For the past five years I’ve been only a part-time basketball player as I’v received an offer for an exciting full-time job in sports business in 2017.However, had another promising BBL situation occurred, I would have considered it for sure. But it never came, so part of the truth as well is that I just must not have been quite good enough for a long BBL career which is ok. I’m happy with how life went.

Rickey Paulding is playing his farewell game on June 4. What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the name Rickey Paulding?

Mayor of Oldenburg.

Have you ever seen a player who has been able to play so well at a high level at his age?

My Dad in Tennis, no joke. But Rickey is a freak, hats off to him.

What was your first impression when you met him? Was his smile and personality instantly infectious?

For sure, it was. Everyone will tell you that. I’ll tell you how nice and friendly he is: Day 1 my first year in Oldenburg, Coach Krunic has me playing 1on1 full court with him. Rickey is making sure I don’t look bad so I can make a good impression and feel good after just getting there.

You played two seasons with him. Is there anything specific that you feel you were able to take from his presence on the court?

Being pretty friendly with referees. I liked his demeanor with them.

In your two seasons he had so many great games. I can imagine his great play in the Bonn series that allowed you to win the BBL title is something that will always remain in your memories or was there one other particular game?

Yes, he was great in that finals series against Bonn, won MVP. But I don’t have a particular game in mind from those years. He made sure others got theirs too.

What is your fondest moment with him on and off the court that you will never forget?

2009, Slovenian Mountains (Rogla), pre-season, we’re in the cold tub post practice. I asked him about opportunities he had before extending his contract with Oldenburg. After learning what and who he turned down, I thought he’s crazy. But that’s what makes him special. And I can understand now as a father much better how valuable and beautiful a stable environment is.

What kind of legacy do you believe will he leave in the EasyCredit BBL? Do feel that there will ever be another American that will be able to reach his longevity in that league?

I believe he showed how beautiful loyalty to a place can be in a world where we often seem to feel like another place might be better. Jarvis Waker, Tez Robertson come to mind. But I believe Rickey would list above them. I think I might be old and grey before we see this again.

Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding.

Rickey, you had an amazing career.It was an honor to be a witness for two seasons, especially in 2009, when that most special trophy was lifted. All the best to you and your family!

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