Igor Perovic is a retired basketball player that won the Euroleague and played most of his career in Serbia. He also played in France and towards the end of his career played in Germany in Wurzburg and 3 years in Tuebingen. He became a coach and coached 7 years in Tuebingen, one year in Elchlingen and the last 2 years with Kirchheim. He gave his memories about Rickey Paulding who he played against as a player and coached against.
Thanks Igor for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is life treating you?
I am coach in Kirchheim and I very happy here. I am working with nice people and we have great chemistry in the club.
You retired in 2008. What do you miss about being a professional player?
I don’t miss playing basketball because I am on the basketball court every day. I am teaching other players to play basketball the right way. To think about the game, to make good decisions on the court, to understand that this is the team sport.
You coached the Tigers Tuebingen for many years and other teams. Is there a new coaching challenge on the horizon for you?
There are always challenges in basketball. You want to improve. It doesn’t matter what competition you play the goal is always there. For me it is important to have good people around me.
Rickey Paulding is played his farewell game on June 4. What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the name Rickey Paulding?
Ricky was the face of the league for many years. When I think about him the first thing that come to my mind is his fair play and how he never was part of something bad that happened in the game. He was an amazing player for sure, one of the best BBL saw in the last 15 years.
Have you ever seen a player who has been able to play so well at a high level at his age?
I don’t remember anybody that kept the level so high for such a long time. At least not in Europe.
In your last season as a player, it was the first season for Rickey Paulding with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. You lost both games with Tuebingen. In the first game that you played against him he scored 23 points. What do you remember being your first impression of him as a player?
I remember that he was flying around the court.
As a player what did you appreciate most about his game and as a coach what did you hate most?
He had a great athletic abilities and endurance. He could run fast and a lot. That’s not easy. He was an excellent transition player. In combination with his jump shot that was deadly. He was a modern 3-2 player. I think he was very good defender too.
What do you think your record was as a coach against him? Was it above or below 500?
I know we had won a couple of games against Oldenburg. I remember we beat them once in Oldenburg. That never was easy. They always had a very strong team so I am very pleased with my record against them.
It was 7-5 for Rickey Paulding and he scored in double figures in 10 of 12 games. Was there a game as a coach against Rickey Paulding that you will always remember?
7-5 for Rickey is very good record for us. They were German champion one time and very strong contenders every year. Rickey was our main target when we played against Oldenburg. We knew that we must stop him if we want to win the game. He was that good. It was many games to remember against Rickey. But for me the most memorable game was the game in Oldenburg 2010 when we won.
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?
He is for sure shoulder to shoulder with Wendell Alexis which means he is one of the best players ever in Germany. It’s hard to think that somebody will reach that longevity in BBL because Rickey was the combination of quality and loyalty. And it’s not only the player decision to stay in one club for such a long time. The club must want him to stay for 15 years and he would never be there for so long if he is not a great person.
Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding.
I want to thank him for great years on the basketball court and congratulate him for an amazing career. I wish Rickey and his family a great life. To be healthy and happy.