The return to Istanbul of Marko Guduric has coincided with the remarkable change of form of Fenerbahce. When he arrived in December for his second stint with the Turkish powerhouse, Fenerbahce had a 5-10 record in the Euroleague languishing well outside the Play Off positions. A couple of months later thanks to a 9-0 streak they are in 6th position in the Eurolegue and they are definitely the hottest team in Europe.
We chat to Marko Guduric and discuss the reasons behind Fenerbahce’s recent good form
Lets start from the last game. You gave an awesome performance with 19 points and 4 assists, it didn’t look like you were bothered by the recent injury. What is you assessment of the game against Zenit and what is your state of health?
It was a good game for us and a very important win. We were able to protect our home court, which is very important in Euroleague. I feel good, I was ready to play. I felt that my leg and my muscles were completely ok.
How do you feel about your Midas touch at Fenerbahce? When you arrived back to Istanbul in December the club’s record in Euroleague was 5-10. Now after 9 straight wins Fenerbahce is by far the hottest team in Euroleague with a 14-10 record and already 6th in the table?
I feel really great about it. I said it before, I feel like everything is clicking right now but we definitely need keep on working, keep getting better and probably most importantly keep knowing each other better. We can’t be complacent because we still have a great room for improvement. The most important thing is that we will stay healthy. If we avoid injuries, we will achieve great things.
The team looks awesome, you share the ball exceptionally well and you have a multiple players who can score from almost everywhere. So apart from your arrival what are other reasons for Fenerbahce’s recent splendid form?
How I said it before, our team needed the time to gel together, to know each other and to know the coach. The coach is new and we have a lot of new guys. I was in the unique position because I was coming back to this team, so for me it was perhaps easier to adjust and fit into the new philosophy. Now I feel that we have a great group of guys which understand each other very well. I’m not talking only about players but also about coaching staff and management. I think this is one of the main reasons why we are becoming really good here.
How would you asses this Euroleague season from Fenerbahce’s perspective and what are your goals for the rest of the season?
It was not an easy beginning. I have watched almost all games from Serbia when I was back at home so I was very much aware how the team is performing. I’m very glad that we were able to switch things so quickly. The goal is to qualify for the Play Off. We have an incredibly tough schedule till the end of the season, so its not going to be easy. I said it before that the most important thing is that we will stay healthy. If we stay healthy we will reach the Play Off for sure and then we will see how far we can go there. We miss our fans in the arenas, we miss you. It is a really different game when they are not in the arena. Hopefully we will have them back soon.
How would you compare the Fenerbahce team under Coach Obradovic from before you left for the NBA with the current outfit run by coach Kokoskov?
It is not easy to compare. Zeljko was here for seven or eight years and he created a great system and winning mentality. Igor is trying to do the same right now. But it is not easy, this is his first head coaching position in Euroleague and things take time. We will see how everything will develop. How I said it before Igor is a great guy, his basketball knowledge is at a great level and time definitely works for him.
Coach Obradovic delivered the only Euroleague title for Fenerbahce. Do you think that the current group can repeat this success?
Definitely yes. Sometimes the short and simple answers are the best.
You have signed a multiyear contract with Fenerbahce which you have a strong ties with. Does that indicate that you would like start winning trophies here and the NBA option is shelved for good?
Of course I would like to stay here and win trophies. NBA is still possibility and I’m open to everything, You never know what is going to happen. But for me for now, this my home, I like being here and I like playing here. I’m not thinking about moving.
What is judgement on your period at the Grizzlies? Do you have a sense of some form resentment that you haven’t been given the full chance to establish yourself in the NBA? You had quite a few successful games which would suggest that you could be quite successful in this league
I had a lots of ups and downs. Like I have said before, I have shown that I can play there. I have shown also to myself that I can play on this level. I had quite a few good games. I feel that the team was not the best fit for me. I didn’t get the chance which I deserved. It is very simple, the NBA is all about opportunities and chances to show your talent and I wasn’t given these chances. On the other hand, I think Grizzlies have a very good coach and group of good guys and soon could become a very strong contender in the West.