Italy A Proving Ground For Sweden's Jerebko

28 February 2008

Jonas Jerebko was a handful for all of the players he went up against last year at the U20 European Championship Division B in Poland.

The third leading scorer in the competition with an average of 19.7 points in seven games, Jerebko is a player the senior team is definitely counting on for the future, and possibly as early as this summer when they attempt to win promotion back to EuroBasket Division A .

A 2.04m forward who turns 21 on March 2, Jerebko had 28 points in an 84-82 win over Belgium to clinch ninth place for Sweden at the U20 event.

He is now a player with Angelico Biella in one of the toughest competitions in Europe, Italy's Lega A.

Jerebko spoke to Basketball World News this week on behalf of FIBA Europe.


FIBA Europe: Hi Jonas. How easy has it been to adapt to life in Italy? And what do you miss most about being away from home?

Jonas Jerebko: It was easier than I thought it would be. Italy is very similar to Sweden. The only thing is the language. A lot of Italians don't speak English. Other than that, everything has been very good.

FIBA Europe: It's been a very interesting season for you with Biella. We see that you are averaging more than 15 minutes a game. What has the experience been like?

Jonas Jerebko: It has been very good. I learn new things every day in practice playing against good players. I feel like I belong on this level and I work hard to keep playing and get more time on the court.

FIBA Europe: When did you get the chance to play in Lega A, one of the top leagues in Europe? Also, has the experience lived up to your expectations?

Jonas Jerebko: I got the opportunity after my first year in Plannja. My agent told me that Biella was interested and I signed here. I was very happy to come to the good Italian league. Yes, it has lived up to my expectations. I enjoy every day and love to play against the best players in Europe.

FIBA Europe: Jonas, all of us remember the terrific job you did for Sweden last summer at the U20 European Championship. How much fun is it to play for your national team?

Jonas Jerebko: It was very fun and it's always an honor to represent your country. I was the captain and I would like to play in that tournament again and show that we are better than we showed in Poland. Coach Jonte Karlsson gave me a big responsibility and I would like to do it again even better.

FIBA Europe: What are the chances that you will be with the senior team this year in EuroBasket Division B? Sweden were recently drawn against the Slovak Republic, Georgia, Ireland and Luxembourg.

Jonas Jerebko: The chances I think are very big. We will see what my summer looks like, but I'm looking forward to representing my country once again.

FIBA Europe: What player from Sweden did you look up to most and admire when growing up, and also who is your favorite player in the world now?

Jonas Jerebko: When I was younger, Jonas Larsson was the Swedish player I admired. He is from the same town and he played with my dad when I was very young. My favorite player right now is (Russia's EuroBasket 2007 MVP) Andrei Kirilenko. He is a versatile player that can do everything.

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