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Ivan Milenkovic

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Interview with Viktor Sanikidze (Georgian NT) - Sep 4, 2013

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In their first-ever EuroBasket appearance, two years ago in Lithuania, Georgia surprised and finished tournament in 11th position. Two out of four key players from previous European Championships, Zaza Pachulia (210-C-84) and Tornike Shengelia (203-PF-91), will have to miss this year's edition of EuroBasket, but Manuchar Markoishvili (196-SF-86) and Viktor Sanikidze (203-F-86) are back and ready for another good tournament.
Viktor Sanikidze was excellent in Lithuania - averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game! He had great numbers in last summer's qualifications as well - 13.6 points and 9.1 rebounds. talked to him ahead of first game of Georgian national team in Slovenia.

Georgia didn't qualify for European Championships from 1993 to 2009, but this will be second EuroBasket in a row for you and your national team. Also, number of Georgian players in top leagues is increasing. Could you explain rise of Georgian basketball, is there any secret?

There is no secret, there is one big reason for our results and this reason is that 7 guys from our national team have been together for 10 years. We know each other very well, we are like brothers and we have improved a lot as players thanks to our performances in top level leagues.

When have you started with preparations for EuroBasket and where did you spend your preparation period?

We started the preparation in Georgia on July 8, working with our athletic trainer. Later we moved to Slovenia (in Podcetrtek) where we have spent two weeks. Following we have had friendly games in Italy, France, Israel and Lithuania.

Georgia played 10 friendly games, won four and lost six, are you satisfied with team's performance in test games?

We lost 6 games, but one we lost was against Lithuania in overtime, which is great success for our team. We have won against Bosnia, Serbia and twice against Israel. I think we had very good results and we are really confident right now.

What you need to improve in your game in Slovenia?

I think we are going in the right direction as we showed during friendly games, we just need to limit out mistakes and always play the same way.

Unfortunately, Zaza Pachulia and Tornike Shengelia will not play, but you will have Ricky Hickman, could you compare this team with team that played in Lithuania two years ago?

Zaza and Toko are big absences for us and forced us to change our game plan; we play much faster now and it goes to our advantage. We have Ricky; he is great player and he is helping us a lot. We also have two young players, Duda Sanadze and Otar Pkhakadze, that are doing a great job coming from the bench; they are helping us a lot and we need their help.

Your coach in national team is Igor Kokoskov , long-time assistant coach in NBA. What is it like to work with him?

He has been with us for the last 5 years, so we are very comfortable with him. He's a great coach, he is teaching us a lot and we are showing very good results under his guidance. The job he has done with our national team over the past years is going to be appreciated in Georgia forever; we are really thankful to him.

Georgia will play in Group C, how do you rate your rivals - Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic?

For sure Spain is the best team. Slovenia is playing at home so they have a huge advantage against all teams; Croatia is big team too, but we can compete against everybody. Poland and Czech Republic are both really tough teams and it's not going to be easy to play with them too.

Georgia finished 11th at 2011 EuroBasket, what is your goal for upcoming tournament and which final position would satisfy you?

Regardless of the fact that we are missing two players, we have to reach at least the same result we had at previous EuroBasket; that's our goal.

You will play at European Championship as free agent as you didn't accept new contract offer of Siena. I know that EuroBasket is currently the most important for you, but are you already thinking about new club season? Where would you like to play next season, do you have any favourite league?

All I'm thinking right now is the national team, I am focused at having great performances at the European Championship. I have had some offers and various interest from different teams and after the end of the championship I will decide based on what will be the best for my future and my career.   

Clippers Milos Teodosic out of Eurobasket - 2 days ago
Los Angeles Clippers guard Milos Teodosic(195-PG-87) will miss the 2017 Eurobasket Tournament, according to Teodosic signed with the Clippers this summer, which represents the first team he has signed with an NBA team. The Serbian is known as one of the best passers in the world. His professional basketball career began in 2004-05, when he played one game in the ULEB Cup and scored four points. After a hiatus in 2005-06, Teodosic played in 16 ULEB Cup contests, averaging 7....   [read more]

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Eurobasket with knee injury - 3 days ago
Greece's basketball federation has accused the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA of hatching a plan to prevent Giannis Antetokounmpo(211-G/F-94, agency: Octagon Europe) from playing in the European championship. About an hour after Antetokounmpo posted on Facebook and Instagram that he was unavailable because of a knee injury, the federation attacked the Bucks and the NBA in a statement, describing an "organized and well-staged plan" to keep Antetokounmpo from playing in the Eurobasket at the e...   [read more]
Will Spain Reign Supreme Again in EuroBasket 2017 - 11 days ago
Spain will once again find themselves as heavy favourites in the upcoming EuroBasket 2017 (31st August - 17th September). It is, of course, no surprise that the Spanish are widely tipped to win again this year, having won three of the last four EuroBasket Gold Medals. In fact, Spain have finished in the medal positions in the last five tournaments and have not finished any lower than 6th overall in the last 40 years. Put simply, the Spanish have been consistently excellent in the competit...   [read more]

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European Championships Standings
Group A
 1. Finland 0-0 
 2. France 0-0 
 3. Greece 0-0 
 4. Iceland 0-0 
 5. Poland 0-0 
 6. Slovenia 0-0 
Group B
 1. Georgia 0-0 
 2. Germany 0-0 
 3. Israel 0-0 
 4. Italy 0-0 
 5. Lithuania 0-0 
 6. Ukraine 0-0 
Group C
 1. Croatia 0-0 
 2. Czech Rep. 0-0 
 3. Spain 0-0 
 4. Hungary 0-0 
 5. Montenegro 0-0 
 6. Romania 0-0 
Group D
 1. Belgium 0-0 
 2. U.Kingdom 0-0 
 3. Latvia 0-0 
 4. Russia 0-0 
 5. Serbia 0-0 
 6. Turkey 0-0 
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
  Avg: 28
 1. Stojanovski, Vojdan28.0 
 2. Veideman, Rain24.0 
 3. Hanga, Adam23.0 
 4. Gomes, Joao22.0 
 5. Dragic, Goran21.0 
 6. Vojvoda, David20.5 
 7. de Jong, Worthy19.5 
 8. Nurkic, Jusuf19.0 
 9. Lawrence, Andrew19.0 
 10. Hermannsson, Mart.17.5 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 15
 1. Nurkic, Jusuf15.0 
 2. Gomes, Joao10.5 
 3. Baeringsson, Hlynur9.5 
 4. Todorovic, Marko9.0 
 5. Karasev, Sergey9.0 
 6. Iarochevitch, Ioa.8.0 
 7. Shengelia, Tornike7.5 
 8. Tumba, Kevin7.0 
 9. Gordon, Ben7.0 
 10. Fesenko, Kyrylo7.0 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 8.5
 1. Dragic, Goran8.5 
 2. Lypovyy, Oleksandr7.5 
 3. Tsintsadze, Giorgi7.5 
 4. Gordon, Ben6.5 
 5. Mihailovic, Vladim.5.5 
 6. Vojvoda, David5.5 
 7. Travis, Romeo5.5 
 8. Vilhjalmsson, Hord.5.0 
 9. Tabu, Jonathan5.0 
 10. Velikov, Asen5.0 
Steals Per Game
  Avg: 4
 1. Needham, Derek4.0 
 2. Dorbek, Martin3.5 
 3. Keller, Akos3.0 
 4. Baburin, Evgenii3.0 
 5. Hajrizi, Drilon3.0 
 6. Obasohan, Retin3.0 
 7. Broadus, Rashaun3.0 
 8. Tumba, Kevin2.5 
 9. Barroso, Tomas2.5 
 10. Kostov, Chavdar2.5 
Blocks Per Game
 Vyacheslav BOBROV
  Avg: 2
 1. Bobrov, Vyacheslav2.0 
 2. Kulagin, Dmitrii2.0 
 3. Panteli, Iakovos1.5 
 4. Zipser, Paul1.5 
 5. Benzing, Robin1.5 
 6. Palsson, Haukur1.5 
 7. Hajrizi, Drilon1.5 
 8. Bergstedt, Jonas1.5 
 9. Kitsing, Kristjan1.0 
 10. Mahalbasic, Rasid1.0 
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