Bertans Feeling At Home In Belgrade

20 March 2012

BASKETBALL IN EUROPE

8. Davis Bertans (Latvia)
Davis Bertans is full of praise for Partizan and the city of Belgrade

The Partizan crowd has found a new sweetheart.

Davis Bertans is just as happy to be in Belgrade.

The Latvian international switched clubs three months ago, arriving to Partizan from Slovenian powerhouse Olimpija Ljubljana.

It was love at first sight.

In an interview with the Serbian daily Novosti, the 19-year-old stated: "Belgrade reminds me more of my home country Latvia than Ljubljana does. It especially reminds me of our capital Riga, so I really feel at home.

"I am thrilled about Partizan, starting from the warm welcome to the great work. Indeed, this is exactly what I needed to progress.

"I give my all to justify the trust of the coaching staff," Bertans said.

He fulfils his role better every day, increasing his playing time for Partizan in the Adriatic League to an average of 10.3 minutes a game.

This comes as no surprise, courtesy of a talent and international experience beyond his years.

The 2.05 m forward took part in two Youth European Championships.

Bertans had a decent showing at the 2008 U16 European Championship Men, averaging 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

In 2010, he shined bright, leading the Latvian squad to the third place at the U18 European Championship Men in Lithuania. Bertans was the dominant force in the bronze medal game against Serbia, leading all scorers with 24 points while adding eight rebounds.

He scored a team-high 14.8 points per game throughout the tournament to go along with 7.7 rebounds.

His performances earned him a spot on the All Tournament Team.

Still 18, Bertans made his debut for the senior national team, representing Latvia at last year's EuroBasket in Lithuania.

His skillset didn't go unnoticed.

He had already signed with Olimpija Ljubljana in the 2010-11 season.

Bertans isn't the first foreign talent Partizan has brought in from Slovenia.

In 2008, Jan Vesely joined the club after he had played one season with Geoplin Slovan. Vesely went on to be a key player and an absolute crowd favourite in Belgrade.

The Czech spent three years with the Serbian champions, his words always being full of praise for the organization and the city.

Now the young Latvian is following on his footsteps.

"I feel that I am improving my game," Bertans concluded.

Belgrade might be a good stop on his way to the NBA. Just like it was for Vesely.

The Indiana Pacers selected Bertans in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft. He was the 42nd pick overall.


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