Lorbek: First Game Is The Key

23 July 2007
By David Hein
Slovenia made history at the 2005 EuroBasket in Serbia & Montenegro, qualifying for the first time for the FIBA World Championship. This year they are and looking for even more success at the 2007 EuroBasket in Spain - with the ultimate goal of reaching the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

One of the keys to Slovenia's success in Spain will be 23-year-old power forward Erazem Lorbek.

The Lottomatica Roma big man went through a very difficult 2006-07 campaign which he started with Unicaja Malaga in Spain, was loaned to Benetton Treviso before finishing the season in Rome.
Klemen Lorbek (Slovenia)
Erazem Lorbek watched the progress of younger brother Klemen during the U20 European Championship

He also was the central figure in a nightmare situation at Treviso, which ended in a 12-point deduction on sporting fraud for the Italian giants, the dismissal and banning of the club's general manager and Lorbek's eventual move to Roma.

Lorbek talked with David Hein on behalf of FIBA Europe about his tough season, the Slovenian national team and his two younger brothers Domen and Klemen.

FIBA Europe: Erazem, you were in Nova Gorica watching your home nation play at the U20 European Championship in your own country, as well as watching your younger brother Klemen.

Lorbek: I came to see my brother because he always came to see me. It's close and in Slovenia, so why not? I like to watch basketball.

FIBA Europe: You went thorugh a very difficult season in 2006-07, moving from Unicaja Malaga to Benetton Treviso to Lottomatica Roma . Are you satisfied with your season?

Lorbek: It was hard to change three teams last season. But I was good in the end in Roma. So, that's the most important thing. I felt good with my teammates.

FIBA Europe: You never really found your niche at Unicaja and then there was the nightmare situation at Treviso. How hard was that to deal with and what was it like going to Roma and playing for your former coach Jasmin Repesa?

Lorbek: It was tough but when I came to Italy I felt a little more at home because I played there three years and speak the language. I had a tough time in Spain. But everything in Italy went good. I don't really know what happened in Treviso. But it happened. I found myself in Rome with my old coach. So it was perfect.

FIBA Europe: What did you learn most out of all this?

Lorbek: I don't know. I learned a lot of different things. I had three coaches and I think it made me better in general.

FIBA Europe: What kind of expectations do you have for the EuroBasket in Spain?

Lorbek: We'll see. We have to have a good training camp and stay healthy. We have to focus on the first game because it's a very hard group. But we'll just have to see what happens.

FIBA Europe: In 2005, Slovenia qualified for the FIBA World Championship for the first time. Do you feel any extra pressure ahead of September's EuroBasket?

Lorbek: No more pressure. There's always pressure on the Slovenian national team because we have many good players. So it's nothing different we haven't experienced before.

FIBA Europe: You are here watching your 19-year-old brother Klemen. Your other brother, 22-year-old Domen is also making strides. What would it mean to have all three Lorbek brothers in the senior national team?

Lorbek: Everything. But it's a long way still to go because they are young. But we will try. all three of us will try very hard.

FIBA Europe: And what would the Lorbek parents say?

Lorbek: They would be so happy to see us play together.

FIBA Europe: You are the eldest brother, what do you tell Domen and Klemen as they try to develop?

Lorbek: I tell them everything I learned. Everything I learned every day from all the coaches I had.

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