Leon Bulic (209-C/F-2001) is a 20 year old 209cm power forward/center that has returned back with Brose Bamberg after playing for the organizations youth team from 2017-2020. He began his career with BC Hallmann Vienna and played the last 2 seasons with BBC Coburg playing 43 Pro B games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 69.4% and in his second season averaged 11.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 24.6%, FT: 71.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Leon for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Thanks for the invitation! At the moment I’m back in Bamberg practicing and getting my body and mind ready for the next season.
Congrats on signing with Brose Bamberg. How thankful are you to be where you played some years as a youth player?
Thank you! It is of course a pleasure to start your BBL career in the club where you kind of grew up, playing here for five years. Also thanks to the club for putting their trust in me. Surely a motivation for more.
How vital were the last 2 years playing with BBC Coburg? How blessed do you feel that you made this step?
It was a great oppourtunity to play in that league with some good minutes, as I was able to polish my game and get better in different aspects, such as post-up and rebounding last season. Now I’m ready for the next step!
You must feel very lucky that you could get good minutes. What is your opinion about how tough the Covid years were for the development of young players? You didn’t suffer playing with BBC Coburg.
Yes, thankfully I could continue playing basketball during the pandemic, which a lot of young players couldn’t do, so I’m very happy about that.
What kind of player was Leon Bulic in 2020 and what player are you in 2022 as you are back in Bamberg as a 20 year old more mature player?
Back in 2020, I was that skinny tall shooter that was avoiding most of the contact. But now since I gained some good pounds and worked a lot in my inside game, I’d say I can use my advantages outside as well as inside, like to push the ball after rebounding and of course shooting my shots.
How important was it getting that self confidence right away with BBC Coburg? They didn’t really have any big men that would take minutes from you?
It was great starting right there where it ended with the Baunach Young Pikes back in 2020. So to play the way I know to play was really important for my self-confidence, especially shooting-wise, as I had green light from the team.
In your 2 years you played with some important veterans like Chris Wolf and Princeton Onwas. Talk a little how important their experience and leadership was not only for the team but for your game
Chris and Prince are really great human beings on and off the court, so being and playing with them really helped me a lot, also when things weren’t going good, they were always there to push me and help me keeping my head up
You always had really good games against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors especially this season winning both and in 20-21 winning 89-88. What was your most memorable game with BBC Coburg.
You already mentioned the game in Frankfurt where we won 89-88. I think that’s one of my favorite games so far, where we had some clutch shots and crazy, lucky shots that just happened to go in.
Now you begin your quest in the easyCredit BBL. Do you feel like you got the needed grooming with BBC Coburg? Do you feel like your 100% ready?
I think the years in the Pro B really helped me to grow as a player, which can now hopefully transfer to the level of the BBL. This summer is all about grind and I’m putting in a lot of work so I’m feeling ready for the challenge.
What is your biggest goal with Brose Bamberg in 22-23? Do you feel pressure that since now is the time, you have to do well in your second time there?
The first goal is obviously qualifying for the Champions League. And then it’s, like my parents always say, step by step. But qualifying for the Play-Offs is of course within the scope of what is possible. I wouldn’t say pressure, but I’ll give my best to challenge myself and to get the best out of the team.
You continue to show that you’re a modern day big man. Your three is falling well. Do you feel like you can become an even more consistent shooter?
I feel like you can always shoot better than you do, so as the shooting is an important part of my game, I’m working on it every day so that I get to that 40%-range from three this season. That’s my personal goal as well as shooting at least 85% from the free throw line.
On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer so you will be best prepared for this new challenge?
This summer I will work on my athleticism, especially on my explosiveness and my upper body, keeping up my conditioning and getting the reps I need at the rim, free throws and behind the arc.
You began your career in Austria with the BC Hallmann Vienna U18 team, What memories do you have of this time? Do you sometimes wonder how your career may have gone had you remained in Austria and how did your early game grow there?
It was a really great time as I could play and compete with my best friends there, but after the U16 level it was time to go and experience new challenges, in my case in Germany with the NBBL. When I heard that Bamberg offered me a chance to play there I didn’t have to think twice. I played the positions 1-5 there and I had the freedom to try new things in games too. So I think that’s what helped me become a modern big.
You played in the Bamberg organization from 2017-2020 and also played for Baunach. Did all the young talents overwhelm you at times? What memories do you have of your early development there?
In the NBBL we always had a stacked team full of national team players from all over Europe, so it was great playing and growing together. At first I had some problems adapting because of all the automatics I didn’t even hear of, but after a while I got used to it and had great coaches leading me step by step.
You reached the 2019 NBBL final. What memories do you have of that final game against FC Bayern Munich in 2019? I remember Munich having an explosive Sasha Grant and versatile player Bruno Vrcic.
It was sad losing that game, especially because it was the only game we lost all season. In my opinion there were a lot of good players and talent in that final. We could’ve won if we played like we did the whole season, but it is what it is.
You also had experience with the Croatian youth national teams. What is the state of Croation basketball at the moment. Will we see new Croatian talents coming up the ranks in the next years?
For me it’s always a big honor representing my home country on international levels. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for the World Championship, so it could be better. But regarding the upcoming talent, I’m pretty sure we will be back at the top soon enough.
Who is the toughest player that you have ever faced on the floor so far in your career?
Great question. I don’t really have any player in mind right now, but I played against a couple of tough players so far. I think I had my hardest time against Usman Garuba at the U18 European Championship.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Marvin Heckel, Nikhil Sacher, Kay Bruhnke, Jannis Sonnefeld and Viktor Saric.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
MJ, Kobe, Kevin Durant and Shaq
Where do you see Luka Donic in skill at the moment in the NBA? Is he only top 5 or top 3?
I definitely see him as a Top 3 player at the moment, and I would even say that he will end up (if healthy) in the Top 3 of All-Time.
Thanks Leon for the chat.
Great interview, giving nice insides, thank you!