How my basketball journey as a player started and ended.

Hello, as a first post I chose to tell you how I ended up in the basketball world.

As of the day this was written, I am 26 years of age and currently working in China for the USBA in Foshan. I started playing when I was around nine, but as it happens to be I was living in a small town in Serbia, so if my friends played basketball, I would to. So from nine to eleven I bounced around different sports, handball, football, volleyball, anything really that my friends were also doing. But I came back at eleven and I started to develop a little bit better as a player. From the other sports I got mostly athletic traits, and with being said I had to work hard to improve my skills in basketball. I played after that for a few more years before stopping my freshman year due to a doctor misdiagnosing my pain in my knees to something more severe than just regular growth pain. A year I stayed without doing any team practice, I still played with friends and people from my neighborhood, even tried to do rugby for a while before deciding to go back to basketball in my final year of high school. With a small strain of luck, and my coach Dragan Marinkovic (Mareta) , whom I am very thankful for giving me the opportunity to play for him,  I was on my way to getting back into the game. I was given 40 minutes per game, almost every game, and I gave it my all, even if it meant that I would be sore for 3 days after, I was happy to be part of a team again.

Luck followed me even further when I went to university in Romania, where I went to a tryout and the manger of the team of SCM U Craiova Marius Toma, took me in as prospect. I didn’t see much playing time, and that was my first professional contract, but it was fun. I was doing something people dreamed of, I was getting payed to play basketball.

Without guidance and my personal interest to improve on the important things (I was trying to dunk more and do more flashy things than work on my fundamentals), I didn’t improve much, my IQ got a bit better and my defense, but my shot was terrible, my offensive IQ was questionable and I was just needing more to be able to play on the next level as a Point Guard. I got my chance in the U23 League of Romania, but after the 3rd game I tore my acl in the 3rd second of the game…. I know it sounds terrible, and it was. Depression got to me, I had to have surgery, lost my girlfriend at the time, I was in a bad place. Most people are. Imagine living the dream and someone just pierces a chainsaw through you. Yup that’s how I felt.

It was hard, and I tried to get back in through my hometown team that was playing in the Serbian second division, but it was of no use. We had good people around us, but it was more of a recreational team than a professional, and my will was not strong enough to push through the mundane and go back to my level of play. I did good, the second year there, way better than expected, but that ended the third year when my energy levels were drained and my motivation was more in building a future for myself, having a secure job and so on…stupid things that I now kinda regret doing.

Anyway at that point I started coaching a bit already, I replaced my coaches in some practices like 6 year olds kids and high school girls, and I started to enjoy coaching. It was making me feel good and I saw something in it.

Again a lucky wind blew my way and I found myself working with a person I hold very dear and respect a lot. I started working with Liviu Zaharia from C.S. Heart Drobeta Turnu Severin. He showed me the ropes and I learned a lot from the way he worked with young kids. The drills he created were up to date with new modern methods, yet it was some kind of old school flair to it, it was the best of both worlds, which made me into not only a better coach but a better man as well. Even tho our thinking and our emotions collided, even were opposite one to each other, we worked pretty well together. He is a dear friend of mine and I hope to make him proud by my work around the world.

At that point I was still close to home, which meant that I was still playing, but due to neglecting my diet and work out my body started failing.

I will be upfront with you when I say professional sport can be a very though thing, mentally and physically. The chance is slim even if you do things the right way, luck is involved a lot, genetics as well which goes back to my previous point. Is it worth it?
Well that’s up to you to decide, I stopped playing on a professional level and dedicated myself to coaching with the goal of shaping people into becoming what they want, be it to keep playing basketball or just amazing human beings with a kind soul. This blog will describe mostly my journey and I hope that I will be able to share some info that will help someone do something great. Thank you for reading, I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog and my social media as I will try to be as active as possible.

Shole

Basketball Coach at Next Level Basketball SN
International Youth Basketball Coach with experience in Europe(Serbia and Romania) and Asia(China). Coaching kids and developing their skills with the end goal of creating better adults with good values, and reaching beyond their basketball potential.
Shole

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