Joventut Badalona big man Vladimir Brodziansky is playing some of the best basketball of his career. Last week he scored 12 of his career-high 31 points in an outstanding third quarter that put Joventut on the right track to beat Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. In his second EuroCup season, the Slovak big man is averaging 14.6 points with very good shooting percentages (63.2% 2FG, 40.7% 3FG, 83.9% FT) plus 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Brodziansky is the fourth-best scorer in the competition on a per-minute basis (26.4 points prorated over 40 minutes) and ranks eighth in PIR per 40 minutes (30.4). He said that he likes to be in an environment full of veteran players who can help, but also playing alongside many young, promising talents. "I'm not as young, like a rookie or whatever, so I am trying to help the younger guys when I can, but also trying to learn from players like Ante and Pau Ribas, so it's great for me," Brodziansky told EuroCupBasketball.com. "We’ve got great veterans and really good, talented young guys, so it is a great mix. I think the team is doing a really good job at adding new players, young players from their bases, from the younger teams. I think that's great."
Vladimir Brodziansky, Joventut: 'Every possession counts'
Hello, Vladi. Congratulations on beating Lokomotiv. It was a battle of powerhouses and you had one of your best games of the season. What made the difference in this game?
"I think we did a really good job in the second half. We played a great defensive game. I think that in the second half, especially, we played to our strengths and did a great job. We did what the coaches told us to do and won. That was a great win for us."
Ante Tomic left the game in the third quarter and you stepped up big, scoring 12 points in that period. Did you feel like it was your moment to carry the team on your shoulders?
"In our team, it is just the next-man-up mentality. When Ante went down, we all just locked in more. We tried to focus, my teammates found me in good spots and I just made the shots. And I think that's it. We are a great team and I think we did a great job."
Speaking of Tomic, how much do you and Simon Birgander learn from him in practices and games?
"A lot, for sure. He's a great, great guy that always tries to help everybody, giving us tips. We learn from practicing with him. He is a great leader and obviously, he played in great teams. He’s had a great career and has many years of experience, so it's amazing to learn from somebody like that. Like I said, he's always giving you tips. I mean, he's amazing in the low post, so we just learn from that. His passes, his vision, his scoring... he is just all over."
Now that Joventut has faced all of its regular-season opponents, how strong is the EuroCup this season and how do you like to be a part of it?
"It is, for sure, amazing. There are great teams: Lokomotiv, Partizan and many others. It is just a great competition. I think the level is really high and I'm really happy to be part of it. You know, playing European competition is always great."
Joventut is a team full of young talents and well-rounded veterans. You seem to be linking both generations. How does it feel, especially off the court?
"I think it's good. You know, I still have a lot to learn. As you say, I'm not as young, like a rookie or whatever, so I am trying to help the younger guys when I can, but also trying to learn from players like Ante and Pau Ribas, so it's great for me. We’ve got great veterans and really good, talented young guys, so it is a great mix. I think the team is doing a really good job at adding new players, young players from their bases, from the younger teams. I think that's great."
How do you like the club's philosophy, being loyal to its run-and-gun playing style and giving chances to all the youngsters that deserve to be out there?
"I agree. For many years, many players grow up here - Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, now we got Pau Ribas and Ferran [Bassas]... You know, many great guys grow up here. I think the club is doing a great job in growing their players, basically. And I think it's a great philosophy, it's great for the future of the club and great for the city. The young players are practicing here and they see us. They practice on the side courts and are here every day, so I guess they can take us as role models. They can see many players who grow up here who play here now on the main team. So I think it's great motivation for them to see that, like 'look, if we work hard, we can make it to the top team.' You can play like the other guys who made it."
Not many players from Slovakia have excelled in the EuroCup, though Radoslav Rancik and Anton Gavel were definitely among them. Did you ever talk to them? Were they role models growing up?
"Yes. Lately I've been talking to Rado Rancik. With Anton Gavel, I have been in contact a little bit for a few years already. They hit me up sometimes after the game, give me some tips. So it's great for them and I'm really grateful for them. I think they are great guys. They try to help Slovak basketball as well."
How important is the home-court advantage going to be going forwards, even in knock-out games?
"The home crowd is always helpful. We have a great crowd here. A lot of people come to the game to support us, so home advantage is going to be huge. We talked about before the Lokomotiv game that this is our chance to skip into first place. And for the rest of the season, you know you have to win every game, every game counts and every point basically counts. You are going to finish as high as you can so you can you get the home advantage, as you said. Our fans know basketball and they support us all the time. They are always behind us, even when we're down a little bit, they still support."
Generally speaking, and other than Joventut, who do you consider the main candidates to win the EuroCup this season?
"I mean, there are many great teams. In our group, it's obviously, Partizan and Lokomotiv. On the other side, there is Virtus, Valencia, which was in the EuroLeague last season and I am pretty sure they are going to get back. There are many other teams like Gran Canaria, which is also doing really good. So I think there are a lot of good teams and it will be really interesting to see because of the knockout stage. It's one game, so anything can happen. Basically, it's like in college, you know, March Madness!"
We are at the regular season's halfway mark. What will be most important going forward?
"I think, just to finish every game, play every game. Basically, every possession counts. We have to win as many as we can, especially home games. As for the road games, if you want to finish first, you have to win most of the games, you know? It's great a competition, great teams, so you have to play 100% every game. It's going to be tough, but we will do our best."