Luka Vudragovic will get a shot at redemption for the biggest disappointment in his young career.
ANGT Finals: Zvezda’s Vudragovic wants redemption at ANGT
Vudragovic and U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade have received a wild card for the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals. Rewind to late February and 10 minutes into the ANGT Belgrade first place game and everything seemed to be going well for Vudragovic. The 1.94-meter guard had drained six three-pointers and Zvezda led 30-26 over U18 ASVEL Villeurbanne. However, Zvezda failed to score in its last 12 possessions over the final 5:53 minutes and lost to ASVEL 73-80.
“We learned that we need to play with more concentration throughout the game and that no one will surrender at the start of the game,” said Vudragovic, who scored just 1 of his team-high 19 points after the first quarter. “My biggest disappointment in my career is the loss to ASVEL in the final game of the tournament. I think we were the best team in the tournament, and everything can change in one game.”
Vudragovic, who was named to the All-Tournament Team as he averaged 17.5 points on 44.8% three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals for a PIR of 16.8, said he was relieved that Zvezda received a wild card to play at the ANGT Final.
“In the game against ASVEL, I think we showed that we deserved it. I am glad to be a part of such an event and to be able to watch the best basketball in my city,” he said.
Vudragovic hails from Stari Banovci in Vojvodina, just northwest of Belgrade. He was playing for KK Vizura in the summer of 2020 when he was asked by Zvezda to join his favorite club growing up.
“I didn't think much when the offer from Zvezda arrived. I fulfilled a boyhood dream. Everyone in the family loves Crvena Zvezda,” he said.
Vudragovic joined a long list of high-level talents to play for Zvezda and he hopes to take the next step with the club.
“The most important thing for me is to progress with my teammates and to prove that I can play professional basketball in the future,” he said.
A few weeks ago, Vudragovic and his U18 teammate Nikola Topic trained with the Zvezda pro team and head coach Dejan Radonjic.
“It was an amazing experience for a young player, an amazing experience. It meant the most to me to feel how a EuroLeague team trains,” he explained.
But Vudragovic’s focus now is the ANGT Finals where Zvezda would love to add a second continental title following 2014, which was followed by reaching the ANGT Championship Game in 2015.
“We need to win every game in the tournament, to be stronger and more concentrated during the tournament,” Vudragovic said when asked what the team needs to do to be successful.
And that would bring Vudragovic redemption for the biggest disappointment thus far in his career.