One of Serbia’s most well known “new generation” talents Nemanja Bjelica has had his first official day at work. The “rookie” had the chance to present himself once again, in front of the press and fans, during the traditional Media day. A common practice in all of the big clubs, meant to show off the latest squad to the public, and have the players get used to the contact with the media.
Nemanja Bjelica has pointed out his pleasure to be in the States, as well as the fact that he is more than your average rookie. At 27 years old, the 6 ft. 10 tall forward, has been appointed Euroleague MVP, has played key roles in the Serbian National team victories and has made a huge progress in the past two seasons. That being said, there is no lack of experience for the Serb.
Nevertheless, he is well aware of the new style of play that will be expected from him, but is willing to work very hard in order to take on that challenge. Being drafted years ago, it was always an objective for him to play in the NBA at his full potential. That time is now.
“I will try to lear everything from my team mates, and I must say (that) I’m very lucky to be in the team with Kevin Garnett.” -he stated, adding that he believes there will be space for him to use his vast Euroleague experience.
About whether or not, coming five years after being first drafted, he stated earlier, on his first press conference: “If I had come in 2010. maybe I wouldn’t have been able to play half of this, so I think I made the right decision.”
As part of the Timberwolves, Bjelica will be surrounded by amazing talent. He is happy to be playing alongside many european players, especially Nikola Peković. It really is easier not having to play against him.
As always, he intends to take things slowly, progressing towards a final goal, becoming excellent, even in the US: “The NBA is the best league in the world. But I will compete every day. I will think step by step, game by game.”
Once again, he expressed a strong desire to prove himself, and not be compared to anyone else. “I want to be Nemanja Bjelica.”
On his initial press conference, he pointed out how important coming to the States is for him. A quote definitely worth reminding: “My dream has come true, and I will give my best to help the team have good results. (…) This is a great opportunity for me and my country, because now we have new players in the NBA, so this is also a big step for us (i.e. Serbia).”
As a child, he used to love the playing style of Alan Iverson. Now, he has no idols, but he watches all of the players, and likes to notice an interesting move, or two. As a very versatile player, sporting the number 88, Bjelica (pronounced: Ne-ma-nya Bie-li-tsa) is bound to make an impact in the world’s strongest basketball league.