Slokar Plays Down Heroics

10 September 2007
By Cindy Garcia-Bennett

A lack of playing time with the Toronto Raptors last season convinced Uros Slokar that his future was in Europe with Dynamo Moscow.

And that future looks to be very bright after his game-winning performance against Turkey on Saturday night at the EuroBasket in Madrid.

With his team trailing by two points late in the third quarter, Slokar found himself open behind the arc and launched an attempt.

Jaka Lakovic (Slovenia)
Good fortune has had a role in Slovenia's run, just ask Jaka Lakovic.
Slokar made that shot to put Slovenia in front for good and ended up three of three from long range.

He spoke to Cindy Garcia-Bennett after the game.

FIBA Europe: Congratulations Uros on that great performance against Turkey. What was going through your mind when you made those shots?

Slokar: “I was just lucky that I was there at the right time and I made them and it helped my team. It’s not really about my 3-point shots though. I think without the defense on their main guys, we wouldn’t have done that.”

FIBA Europe: The win was Slovenia's fourth in as many games at the EuroBasket and has all but put your national team into the quarter-finals.

Slokar: "I prefer to be cautious and until it's not 100% certain that we've made it, I will not be happy. We still have more games to play in the qualifying round. So far it's been pretty good. But you can always lose some games, we cannot rest on our laurels. We are not remembering the wins we just had we are only focusing on our next game. So far it has worked for us and we hope it will continue to do so."

FIBA Europe: Slovenia has arguably been the biggest surprise at the EuroBasket. The fact that in each contest you've had a different player step up when the game was on the line is the sign of a good team.

Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)
Dirk Nowitzki and Germany are the next test for Slovenia.

Slokar: "It's a strength but also the weakness of our team. There's not a bad player at this EuroBasket tournament. But if you look at Greece or Spain, every player of the team is the leader of their clubs during the regular season. We are trying to do the best we can with the players we have."

FIBA Europe: Many of Slovenia's veteran players elected not to play this summer in Spain. How was Slovenia able to recover?

Slokar: "Every player who came this summer tries to do its best, plays with heart and that is the most important thing for this national team. It doesn't mean that our individual strength is not as powerful as the group. I think with us, there were a lot of players who turned down the national team this summer for different reasons and those that have come have given everything."

FIBA Europe: Slovenia face a big test against Dirk Nowitzki's Germany on Monday.

Slokar: "It's going to be tough for us. In the German national team, everyone looks up to Dirk Nowitzki. He will score his 30 or 40 points but our chances are in limiting the other guys. Dirk is such a dominant player that if you base your game on him the likelyhood is you will fail. We cannot hope that Dirk has a bad game, you cannot count on luck, because it will kill you, it will destroy you."

FIBA Europe: How far can Slovenia go in this tournament?

Slokar: "We have to be realistic. We have had luck on our side, especially against Italy (Jaka Lakovic's buzzer beating three-pointer). This is a tough contest at the EuroBasket. You have both of the NBA MVP's competing here. The quality of the championship is unbelievable, it's hard to come by such a good tournament. We have been really successful so far and I hope it continues."

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