By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
There were two main factors that made the move to Panathinaikos a rather easy decision for Nemanja Nedovic.
For starters, Nedovic listened to the people of Panathinaikos – including team legends and newly appointed general managers Dimitris Diamantidis and Fragkiskos Alvertis – describing him how much they want him to become a piece of the renovated edition of the “Greens” ahead of the new season.
“The first contact was a week ago and we finished everything. I felt really wanted. I felt that they really want me on the team and that was the crucial point for me,” Nedovic told Eurohoops. “They were really honest towards me about everything. It was a great honor that Diamantidis personally called me and explained the whole situation to me. I was really glad that he and [Fragkiskos] Alvertis came back and are taking care of the sports part of the club. He [Diamantidis] was really straightforward to me. He said that the only thing I have to take care of was basketball and he would take care of all the other things.”
“I felt they really wanted me on the team. That was the crucial point for me,” Nedovic mentioned.
Then it was the significant part Nedovic is planned to play on the new squad of Panathinaikos and the leadership potential. A sweet melody to the player’s ears. “I felt that they really want me on the team. That I will have a big role. That I can be one of the leaders,” Nedovic said. “And I think that’s a great situation for me after two seasons with a lot of trouble. I want to turn a new page and Panathinaikos and Athens are a good place for me to be.”
Nedovic spent the previous two years with Olimpia Milano. He joined the Italian side after an All-Euroleague-caliber run with Unicaja Malaga and was looking forward to taking it to an even higher level with the ambitious “Red Shoes.”
Things didn’t go as planned for him since injuries, at first, and then lack of playing time hindered his goals.
“If I started to talk about the last two years with Milano we could stay here and talk for two days,” Nedovic said. “There were a lot of factors that influenced my two years with Milano, especially the first year. We just didn’t start off on the right foot. I’m really sorry because I couldn’t give my best basketball to coach [Simone] Pianigianni. He was the one who brought me there. He was the one who gave me a lot of freedom and a lot of minutes in the beginning. Then that first injury happened, two or three weeks into the season. After that… it was just a mess.”
“I want to forget it,” Nedovic added.
The 2019-2020 EuroLeague and Italian League stopped being played in March during the coronavirus pandemic. During the ongoing hiatus, Nedovic took advantage of the situation in order to push workload with the focus of getting his body in an ideal shape ahead of the new season.
“Right now, I’m in a good place physically. I surrounded myself with some good people that take care of my body. I’m working since April to get in the best shape possible. “If I have a little bit of luck, there won’t be any problems and nobody should be in any concern,” Nedovic answered when asked about fan concerns after his injury-troubled stint with Milano.
Nedovic was making his professional career beginnings back in Panathinaikos’ halcyon days. He remembers how he watched that Zeljko Obradovic-led team winning EuroLeague titles; another reason why it’s so big for him to join the club.
“They are the club with the biggest history in EuroLeague. It’s true that when I was starting to play they were dominating Europe with coach Obradovic and all those legends on the team. That was a team that I was watching growing up, winning everything. It’s a great honor. This is a club with great history and especially great fans.”
Even before his addition to Panathinaikos became official, Nedovic has been receiving plenty of affection by fans of the team.”
The love that I’m receiving on social media is unbelievable. I see how passionate everybody is about Panathinaikos. I really can’t wait to be in Greece. I hope we will be able to enjoy the atmosphere the fans make, now with this coronavirus situation. Hopefully, we will have great success together.”