Nikola Kuga (200-F/G-86) is a 25 years old shooting guard. He was born in Bihac, in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He lived in Croatia , then during the war moved to Montenegro, and finaly to Serbia. So he can call himself a truef Yougoslavian: 'It was a really hard childhood time, but I look at it in a positive way. I can say I was lucky because I met many different people as a kid.'
Kuga's basketball time was also interesting. The 200cm serbian grew up in the famous basketball school of FMP Belgrade (the same youth program of many Euroleague players like Milos Teodosic and Nemanja Aleksandrov). Nikola collected dozens of caps in the Serbia Cadet and Junior teams. He played in Serbia (FMP) , Cyprus (Achilleas), Macedonia (Amak Ohrid), Slovenia (Polzela), Iceland (Skallagrimur) and again in Cyprus (AEK Larnaca) before being a legit pioneer on the other continents: Morocco (Sport Plazza), Dubai (Al Sharjah), the Maldives (RLC). He played in South America (Colombia, the first European ever) and in Asia (Vietnam),and was a top 5 player in the Gran Canaria 2007 Summer League and one of the best in the Malaga 2010 Summer League. Time for an interview:
Hey Nikola, your story is pretty interesting. As a product of the Serbian basketball school you decided early to play abroad. Tell us a little bit about you and your career so far.
I love challenges. As a young player I had a chance to go and play abroad. I left Serbia very early. After Serbia I played in Cyprus, Slovenia, Macedonia, Iceland... after afew years in Europe I was offered to play out of Europe. It was an great chance for me to discover new basketball worlds and start to write the second chapter of my basketball story. My first contact out of the Europe was Morocco. I was fascinated by the different lifestyle, culture, people and history, so I never regretted that decision. I spend one great year and season there, with great success. After that I went back to Europe for one season. At the end of the season I got a lovely offer from the Maldives to play a summer tournament. It was a great preparation for the next season, and a really amazing and relaxing time.
The 2011 season brought big challenges. I went to Latin America, and was the first player from Europe in Colombia ever. It was a crazy time: four games per week, 24 games in less than 2 months, and play offs. It was a really tough league, with some NBA-players. I can describe it in a few words: games, practice, travel, sleep... Of course I had some days off, but only a few times I was able to go out and see the really amazing girls in Colombia.
After this 3 month competition I shortly moved to Dubai and spend a great time with Arabic 2011 Champion Sharjah . One of the best coaches in The Middle East area, Abdul Hamid, called me to help his team for some tournaments there . I couldn't play the championship, because only 1 import' player is allowed over there, and they allready had a US Point gueard. But it was a great expierience. After that I went to Vietnam, my last stop so far.
You have played in so many countries, from Europe to Africa, South America and Asia. What did you learn from this countries and what are the main differences of the game in these different areas?
Playing basketball in all those countries and experiencing different basketball and cultures made me a really better person and a better player. I feel very blessed and thankful for my basketball experiences. I'm focused on working hard, making teams happy and enjoying basketball. I'm a player who's trying to get better and better, this is my challenge and my job.
There are many differences between the game in Europe and other places I played. Out of Europe the game is much more focused on offense. Playing as an import means you have to score 20, 25, 30 points. It's more NBA-style, the game is fast. There's more motion, many fast breaks, people like to see their teams score 100 points in a game. In Europe, teams are more focused on defence, tactics, the position game... so that's the main difference. As a player you have to be a bit more athletic and get individual skills, because you can expect to play a lot of 1 on 1 games, and have to create your own space. Also, almost 80 procent of the points come from import players. Teams are expecting points from you each and every game, while in Europe there are at least 8 or 9 players able to have a high score almost every game. It's not an easy job, but every day you learn new things and that is why I really love basketball.
Do you have funny stories about different local cultures ?
Well, you have to be flexibile and adjust your lifestyle to the local culture. There are many more differences then in basketball. My career brought me in so many countries, experiencing cultures and different mentalities and always learn more about the world we live in. Adjusting is not always easy of course, and there are a lot of funny situations happening every time. People in Asia are so friendly it's always funny walking along the streets every day, where you can just meet people asking you something: it's amazing. It's always a lot of attention. In Morocco it was always funny. Really nice people, but not so organized about basketball. On the day before a game, on the practice all team owners appear and ask the same question: Are you ok?'. Then, the next 5 days, nobody come. The taxi drivers in Vietnam were also funny. They don't speak English. They drive you around the city for 40 minutes, before they drive you to your address. All you can do is wait. Now it's really funy, but there it wasn't .
Food is a special story. You need at least a month to adjust to the local food. In Asia they always make food spicy. On the Maldives, every single meal was spicy. I told them: please bring me an un-spicy meal the next time. Always they answered: sure. And always the next meal was the same as the previous. But hey, now I like spicy food...
Well, I am not much of a different person on and off the court. I love sports. Off season time, I try to stay at least 1 month out of basketball. But I play tennis and I like to swim. The last few years, I use the summer to go in a Hiperbaric Chamber to recover after the season.
I love to discover new things. I love music, the internet. Not so much different things than everybody I guess . I like to spend time with my family. Summer time is great for that, because during the season most of the time we're not together.
What's your next challenge as a player?
Well , I am 25 years old . My previous expierience told me never to say I will go there'. So I hope I will continue to write new chapters of my basketball story somewhere in the world.
THE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL DIVISION TRYING TO SURVIVE - 9 days ago
October is almost coming , the month in which the second professional basketball championship of Professional Basketball Division should start, but the Division still have not officially said the dates for the competition, one fact drives to the situation: the PBD loss their sponsor. Directv did not renew his contract as sponsor of the Professional Basketball Division Basketball (PBD) , in a decision that surprised the fans of basketball and possibly much of the leadership that came conv... [read more]
October is almost coming , the month in which the second professional basketball championship of Professional Basketball Division should start, but the Division still have not officially said the dates for the competition, one fact drives to the situation: the PBD loss their sponsor.
Directv did not renew his contract as sponsor of the Professional Basketball Division Basketball (PBD) , in a decision that surprised the fans of basketball and possibly much of the leadership that came conversing with Directv to ensure their permanence as the main supporter of the professional competition.
The decision surprises, because although differences between both sides were known, Directv spokesmen had expressed in different events their interest in keep involved within the competition and the communication with the PBD directives remained fluid.
Even without knowing the bowels of the process it is easy to find a cause that could be the breaking point for a relationship that start strong and looks solid for a long term , but with the formal establishment of the Professional Division a few months ago took a radical turn.
That reason might be the decision taken by the clubs within the DPB to wean Go Sports Media for organizing the event, assuming the clubs direct management of the sponsorship funds , until then handled by Go Sports, is time to remember that the colombian basketball Federation commissioned by means of a contract Go Spots Media to organize, distribute, market and manage the top competition of the Colombian basketball organized by the PDB and in the development of that contract Directv came as a major sponsor and Win Sports TV came as the official broadcaster of the event.
Of course everything is speculation, because the decision to continue or not belongs entirely to Directv and finally choses to do what more convenient for them ; so with just 5 years old and with only 1 officially professional championship the PDB returns to the starting point: the need to move forward with a professional championship but unsponsored and most complicated: not yet have an attractive product for sponsors and fans, as the level of competition fallen and local stars are few.
One side effect: if the PDB does not find a sponsor and the length of the league is cut the national players will not have enough competition towards the FIBA world championship qualifier.
Prince Obasi (ex Bucaros) is a newcomer at Kirchheim - 1 month ago
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VfL Kirchheim Knights (ProA) strengthened their roster with addition of 25-year old American guard Prince Obasi (193-93kg-91, college: Seattle). He played this summer at Bucaros in Colombian Liga DirecTV. In 35 games he recorded 9.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg and 1.0spg. Obasi helped them to make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won NJCAA D1 championship title in 2010. Obasi was also voted All-WAC 2nd Team back in 2013 at his college time. Obasi... [read more]
VfL Kirchheim Knights (ProA) strengthened their roster with addition of 25-year old American guard Prince Obasi (193-93kg-91, college: Seattle). He played this summer at Bucaros in Colombian Liga DirecTV. In 35 games he recorded 9.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg and 1.0spg. Obasi helped them to make it to the final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won NJCAA D1 championship title in 2010. Obasi was also voted All-WAC 2nd Team back in 2013 at his college time. Obasi has played also professionally in Colombia for Patriotas. He attended Seattle University until 2013 and it will be his fourth season as a professional player.
Player of the Year: Jonathan Rodriguez (196-F-87) of Academia Guard of the Year: Jonathan Rodriguez (196-F-87) of Academia Forward of the Year: Titus Mims (201-F) of Aguilas Center of the Year: John Hernandez (207-C-84) of Sabios Domestic Player of the Year: Stalin Ortiz (190-G-81) of Condores Import Player of the Year: Jonathan Rodriguez (196-F-87) of Academia Coach of the Year: Hernan Dario Giraldo of Academia 1st Team F: Jonathan Rodriguez (196-F-87) of Academia G: Stalin Orti... [read more]
Each year and after each competition latinbasket.com name its awards,here we go with the Liga Directv 2016-1 awards
Latinbasket.com All-Colombian Liga DirecTV-1 1st Team 2016
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