Atmosphere Impresses All

18 September 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

One of the younger Slovenia fans in Stozice Arena
Fans old and young have been flocking to Stozice Arena decked out in green in support of the home team

Slovenia is known for having a love of basketball and their fans have come out in droves to support Bozidar Maljkovic's team - something that the host side has greatly appreciated.

"It's amazing that we have 10,000 people supporting us every night. I didn't expect that. I expected a little less. But the way we are playing we should have even more fans at each game," said Slovenian guard Domen Lorbek.

"The crowd really helps us. They are like a sixth man on the court," said Slovenian guard Zoran Dragic.

Dragic actually apologised to the fans after their loss in the final group stage game against Finland.

"We showed a kind of poor game. I feel bad for them because they came to cheer us. But I think they are still together with us because they know that an important game is coming," said Dragic, referring to the quarter-final showdown with France.

Oposing teams are just as impressed by the packed houses at Stozice Arena.  

French coach Vincent Collet meanwhile is actually looking forward to playing against Slovenia in the quarters.

"It will be a pleasure to play against a full gym, a sold out crowd. It will be good for both teams," said Collet.

The Frenchman knows Slovenia will feed off the support.

"The team will be pushed, just like they were against Greece. You can feel their players have a mission, not only basketball but they are playing for their people too," said Collet.

He was in the stands for the Slovenia-Greece game, not only as a coach but also as a lover of basketball.

"I was impressed. I loved it. I enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. I really loved Lithuania 2011. It was a true basketball fest. This event has that same feeling," said Collet.

The French coach has not been the only team boss impressed with the crowd at Stozice Arena. Finland's Henrik Dettmann said his team really used the atmosphere to pick up their game.

"Of course we need this type of crowd in every game. My players see the crowd but they don't hear it. You can see the kind of spirit they get from the crowd," said Dettmann after his team's 92-76 win over Slovenia.

Of course the fans will be cheering for the home team and Slovenia will be lifted because of it. But France will likely also be more into this game thanks to a rowdy crowd.


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