|Nihad Dedovic has signed a one-year deal with Alba Berlin, with an option for a second season |
By Dimitris Kontos
There is a common misconception about Bosnia and Herzegovina international Nihad Dedovic.
Fans who don't know his age and are used to see him play at the top level, have the impression that he's been around for ever.
"I think people look at me like a veteran player," Dedovic admits to FIBAEurope.com
"(It's) because this is my second season in the Euroleague and I don't know how many teams I've changed until now, but I am only 22 years old.
"Also I some times get (to think) this but I have to calm down, I am only 22 and I have a lot more years to play."
Dedovic is playing in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague with Alba Berlin, the club he joined this summer.
He is averaging 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals after the first five games.
His previous full season in the competition was 2010/11, when he was on the roster of Lottomatica Roma, on loan from Regal Barcelona.
His first appearance however came when he was just 17 years old.
The Catalan powerhouse were facing Partizan in Belgrade and the teenager from Visegrad spent five minutes on the court in the legendary Hala Pionir, scoring one free throw and grabbing two rebounds.
He played for Barcelona's second team, CB Cornellá until he was 19.
Then he was loaned out to Obradoiro, Roma, Galatasaray.
He is now looking to finally settle down in the German capital.
"I have a good role in this team," he says.
"This is a new beginning for me, because I was always on loan somewhere.
"This is new and it's not going to be easy but I have to work and make it."
THE BOSNIAN IRON MAN
Dedovic made his debut with the senior national team in Division A qualification for EuroBasket 2007.
He's played for the national team every year since and his first participation in a Final Round was at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, where he played 29.4 minutes per game.
Last summer however, in the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round, he spent 36 minutes on the court on average, with fellow star Mirza Teletovic clocking in at 35.
If it wasn't for the 14 minutes of rest the 22-year-old was afforded in the last game, against Romania, that figure would be much closer to 40, every three days.
He played -as always- aggressive defence, fought for every rebound and every loose ball.
Considering that he is tall (1.98m) for a shooting guard, athletic and full of energy, it is easy for fans to get the wrong idea - once again.
Dedovic is quick to put the record straight: He is not Iron Man.
"It's impossible to play 36 minutes at this high level, I did my role last summer but in modern basketball it's not possible (to do it all the time)," he shakes his head.
"This summer the situation was like that because some players were injured and didn't come but I think next summer for the EuroBasket this will change.
"I hope it will! I hope!"
|Nihad Dedovic played a significant role for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers|
Bosnia and Herzegovina did very well in the Qualification Round, earning first place in Group D with six wins in eight games.
They impressed with their up-tempo game, scoring 92 points on average.
It was a far cry from their showing in Lithuania, where they came in fifth in the six-team Group C and were left out of the Second Round.
"I think the difference was that we changed a lot of players, the veteran players who could not give any more the maximum for the national team," Dedovic explains.
"We changed with some young guys with more energy and everyone on the team knew their role and played (in the way) the coach asked from us."
One thing is for sure, coach Aleksandar Petrovic must have liked what he saw from the young guard in those 36 minutes he kept him on the court night in and night out.
Dedovic averaged 16 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
He knows he will be one of the leaders of the team in Slovenia next summer and he would like to see more of the same.
"I hope the main thing is that we will stay the same like last summer, don't change too much because we played really well.
"Just bring in some new guys and maybe some new qualities - and that's it.
"If everything is like last summer I hope we can make some good impression over there."
Dedovic plans to be there with Bosnia and Herzegovina and stick around for much, much longer beyond that.
And that's not a misconception.