CWith 22 years, Dino Radoncic (Giessen, Germany, 1999) already has 112 games in the Endesa League. He is currently the fifth player who plays the most minutes (29) and the youngest among the 50 most valued (13.0 on average). In the last three games he averages 22.3. The Acunsa GBC forward has found his place after three tough years in which the shadow followed him and the comparisons with his friend Luka Doncic, with whom he grew up in Madrid. Today he visits the whites trying to follow their path and enjoying the successes of his colleague at the same time.
- I’m not risking anything if I say that the best Radoncic is being seen.
- I’m in my prime. It seems that the bad has been left behind. I have had a difficult time trying to make a name for myself in the ACB, but I have never given up and I am proud of myself and what I am doing.
- Has it been so bad?
- Yes. My last junior year at Madrid I don’t count it because I played little, but the last three have been very hard [17-18 en el Real Madrid, 18-19 entre el San Pablo Burgos y el UCAM Murcia y 19-20 entre el conjunto murciano y el Lenovo Tenerife]. Especially in the last one I had a very bad time. When I left Murcia in February I had doubts about what to do with my life. I didn’t enjoy basketball, I didn’t even feel like going to practice. In San Sebastián I have fallen in love with basketball again. With work and sacrifice, beautiful things are happening to me and I hope more will come. I don’t wish on anyone what I’ve been through.
The worst thing that can happen to a young player is to be compared to Luka, who is one in a million
- Did you think about quitting basketball?
- You think about it and that you are not worth this. You just want to go home. In summer it was necessary to decide and the offer of Casademont Zaragoza came out. It motivated me to be loved and transferred to Acunsa GBC, where I try to restore the trust they give me. I have found my site. A team where they allow me to make mistakes and believe in me. And I think I can do even better.
- Did you see a sports psychologist to get out of the pothole?
- I leaned on my family and my friends, who always believed in me. I’ve had a lot of support from him, but it still wouldn’t have been a bad thing to go to a psychologist.
- He made public messages in which Facundo Campazzo encouraged him. I told him to relax, that he had a gift …
- We were roommates and we are very confident. He was there in one of my worst moments and I will not forget him. If I have problems, I know that Facu will not fail me and will try to help me. It makes me very proud that he is my friend. I have also had messages from Rudy, Felipe and Llull. Although it’s been three years since I left, I still keep in touch with them. It’s the beauty of basketball.
I do not wish anyone the three years that I have spent. I thought about leaving basketball, which was not worth it for this, but I have fallen in love again
- He is only 22 years old, but he has lived a long time already.
- Sometimes it seems like I’m 30 because of the time I’ve been in the Endesa League. I have a long way to go.
- His is a clear example that each young person evolves in a different way and the comparisons can be terrible. You know who I say it for.
- Yes. The truth is that Luka [Doncic] it screwed up all of us who came from behind [risas]. Seriously, the worst thing that can happen to a young player is to be compared to him because it causes a lot of pressure. He is one in a million. I don’t know if we’ll ever see another like that. Each one leads its way and there are many ways to do it.
- Sometimes the age of Carlos Alocen and Usman Garuba, two other young men with important roles in Madrid, is also forgotten.
- They are two great players with 20 and 19 years. It is not easy what they are doing because it takes time to adapt to Madrid and to withstand the pressure.
- You won’t take your eyes off what your friend Doncic does, right?
- If I can, I watch all the games and talk to him every two weeks. At the beginning of the season he was sad because they weren’t winning, but now he’s playing very well and the team is going up. As soon as I get up, I make myself a coffee, I put on its highlights and enjoy, like everyone else.
- Do you see a roof?
- No. He is the fourth best scorer in the NBA, he is averaging almost 29 points per game and playing very easy. At 22 years old! And I think it still has a lot of room for improvement. He will win several MVPs and a ring, for sure. He will be the best European in history. It’s hard to beat Pau [Gasol] and Dirk [Nowitzki], but Luka can do it.
- This afternoon you face Madrid. Is it still special?
- It is always. I grew up there and have friends. It is my second home. When I go back to Madrid, to play or on vacation, I feel like I’m in Serbia. It is an exciting game, but I try to face it as if it were any other.
I don’t see a ceiling for Luka. It still has a lot of room for improvement. He will win several MVPs and some rings
- Can you imagine returning to Madrid one day?
- I’m playing well this year, but I have a lot to improve. This summer is going to be long and I have to work a lot. The first thing, the shot, which I must be more consistent. I have opened my eyes and I have also opened them to people. I will try to reach a great level and show that I am up to great things. In the future I see myself playing in the Euroleague, for sure. I don’t know if it will be in Madrid or in another team.
- The effort of his team is enormous, fighting to save themselves against everything.
- We are giving everything to save ourselves. At the beginning of the season it was said that we were a band, that we were a LEB Oro team … A lot of bad things have happened to us, like Echenique’s injury, a benchmark, but we are competing and giving a good image. I am delighted and sure that the club grows in the coming years and things are going well.
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