|Eva Komplet has fought hard to come back from a near career-ending ACL injury and will play EuroLeague Women this season with Novi Zagreb|
By Paul Nilsen
Slovenian ace Eva Komplet is one seriously tough cookie having endured more than her fair share of misfortune during her career.
The 26-year-old was one of the players scythed down in the bizarre run of serious injuries sustained by the Slovenian national team a little more than 12 months ago - something which probably cost them a place at EuroBasketWomen 2013.
Because of her previous history, Komplet admitted there was a time when she did not see herself continuing to play at all.
She recalled, "I tore my ACL twice in my right knee in 2008 and so this was my third surgery.
"At first I thought I wasn't going to play again and it was just going to be too much for me.
"I really don't know what happened, since we practiced well and most of the girls had good seasons behind them, but everything just fell apart.
"I was probably a little tired and my body needed regeneration, since national team duties started one week after the last game of the season.
"We were very sad because it was excellent opportunity to play at EuroBasket Women.
"One positive thing was that the Federation took really good care of us."
Once the true reality hit, Komplet thankfully found the courage to continue and embarked on another long journey back to health.
"I knew I had to have good rehabilitation if I even wanted to live a normal life," she insisted.
"I told myself to go step-by-step and admit this rehab was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, because I didn't even know if I wanted to still play or not.
"Basketball is everything to me, but in that moment after the MRI result, I felt all alone.
"Luckily I had the right people by my side, so I thank my family, boyfriend, [Novi Zagreb] coach [Vladimir] Ivankovic and my agent for all their support," continued the small forward.
"They gave me one more chance to try and put everything into my rehab and everything came back.
"Now, I enjoy every second of when I play."
SUNSHINE OUT OF DARKNESS
|Eva Komplet will be joined in Novi Zagreb by Slovenian teammate Teja Oblak|
When Komplet did eventually return to action earlier this year, she made a big impact by sinking a ‘dagger' triple to help Novi Zagreb take a first ever Championship - something which immediately swept away the clouds.
"The moment I saw the medal on my chest, I forgot everything about my surgery," said Komplet with a broad smile.
"That game made rehab worthwhile and was my confirmation that I did right by continuing with basketball.
"I was also happy because it was the fourth club I had won a Championship with."
Komplet is back with Novi Zagreb and looking forward to a tough season in EuroLeague Women where she will play alongside Teja Oblak, her Slovenian teammate who was one of the other players to suffer a serious injury setback.
She explained, "I played with Teja in Kranjska Gora, so it's going to be interesting to play with her again and it's really good for the Slovenian national team to have players with EuroLeague Women experience.
"I wish her all the best and hope we will be without injuries since (last year) was enough for both of us."
She continued, "We have almost the same group as last season. It's a hard group, but we have good players in our team.
"Our goal is to pass the group stage and then anything is possible.
"Every game we need to play hard, with heart, fight for every ball and we will see."
Having not played for her country this year during the 1st Qualification Round for Eurobasket Women 2015, fans will be hoping she is back next year when Slovenia will get another opportunity to secure their place.
But, Komplet is understandably cautious about making promises.
"This is a hard question," she agonised.
"I want to play for the national team, but the season is long, playing n many competitions. so I will wait until the end of the season and then decide.
"I will listen to my knee and let him make the decision!"
When she is not playing ball, Komplet is usually indulging in one of her other passions such as making cakes and desserts, although the other true love in her life remains as yet, very much unconquered.
"Yes, I wanted to become professional dancer," said the Slovenian.
"Unfortunately I couldn't find a partner with the same height or even taller"
"So being a dancer is now just a dream."
Still, her nifty footwork has come in handy on the hardwood and Komplet will be hoping her Novi Zagreb teammates can dance their way all the way into the EuroLeague Women play-offs.