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Amar is back: "Here I find my family". The interview with 21-year old Stellazzurra Academy's player, who is preparing the start of his third NCAA season with St. John's in our Arena Felici

Pubblicato il Mercoledì 25 Maggio 2016 - General News

 It has been a week that a returning Stellazzurra's player has been training with the team that is preparing for the U18M National Finals in Pordenone. This is the time of year when one of the most appreciated products of Stellazzurra Basketball Academy, Amar Alibegovic, returns home after his second year in the NCAA at St. John’s. The 21-year-old Italian-Bosnian forward is keeping fit with head coach Germano D’Arcangeli (see photos, during training at the Arena Felici these days) after the end of his college basketball season with the New York university team. He finished his sophomore year with an average of 5.1 points +2.4 rebounds in 15.9 minutes in 32 games (6 of which as starting line-up), tripling his statistics from his freshman year. He is now waiting to begin his third Red Storm year, which just a few days ago he communicated that he was going to stay.


Welcome back to Stellazzurra, Amar! What environment have you found coming back, as in the general atmosphere of the club as well as the players?

There’s the same environment as when we were here. You work hard, Germano is always the same, and he makes them work until they become a team, a family. I think they’re getting there. Now the U18 National Finals will be the last step towards this family they are creating”.


What is something you like most and find every time you come back to Stellazzurra?

What I find that is identical every time is Germano... (Amar laughs). Over the years he never changes and continues to bring forward his ideas across different generations”.


From last summer there’s another Alibegovic here at Stellazzurra, your younger brother Denis. How did you find him?

The first thing I noticed as soon as I saw him was that he has grown so much physically. Also on court he is very different from last time I saw him play, he is more serious on certain things. He clearly still needs to improve a lot, but I do too, so I think Denis is doing well”.


Next season two more Stellazzurra's players will join the NCAA, after you and Kristinn Palsson. What advice would you give Scott Ulaneo and Mattia Da Campo, that soon will begin their stars and stripes journey at Seattle University?

First of all never give up because there will be some difficulties at the beginning, especially psychological, as you are overseas and away from everything you know. The second advice is to be as physical as you can, to always fight against any opponent, and never give up in front of anyone”.


Before returning to Rome you went to visit Kristinn at Marist College. What did he tell you about his freshman year in the NCAA?

I followed him throughout the year. I saw he improved a lot in different areas, especially physically, because he jumps more and he is faster. He told me he got on well with the team and he has no problems. I saw him happy and so I’m happy if he is happy”.


What can you tell us about your year at St John’s? Were there too many defeats (8-24 overall record and out in the first round of the Big East tournament playoffs) than expected?

Even though there were many defeats this season we were expecting it as we had new staff and the team was put together within a month. We had some excellent moments, so if we were more unified we could have won more games. Individually, compared to my first year, as also shown from the statistics, with a few more minutes of playing time I was able to produce more. If I continue working hard and improving I will have even more minutes. I need to improve on certain things, and I do talk to coach Mullin and the rest of the coaching staff, so I am not worried, also because with the training I will do this summer I believe I will keep moving forward”.


One of your season highlights was your new carrier record of 18 points, in a hard fought game in front of an opponent’s crowd of 18 thousand people, against the team that a month and a half later were crowned NCAA champions, Villanova.

That game, as well as the one against Syracuse played at Madison Square Garden (15 points +9 rebounds winning against a team that reached the Final Four, in the pics below Amar in the matches vs Syracuse and Villanova, credits, were a few of my excellent moments where I showed what I am capable of doing. My objective for next year is to play similar games more regularly, so I can help my team to win”.


There’s a real “Italian Connection” at Red Storm, between you, Federico Mussini and the member of coaching staff Luca Virgilio. How many teammates did you manage to “bring over” to the Italian side?

We’re a united group, Federico and I bring in our influences, myself as the leader and Fede as a player with great talent that brought our team forward. In fact, in the roster, we brought a lot of our Italian character out, many teammates know a few words in Italian, so we joke about it and it’s really fun”.


What does your summer foresee?

I will stay here at Stellazzurra for a couple of weeks, after that to Serbia to train with a coach, and then I will go back to New York on July 10th”.


Not even a holiday at the beach?

No, there’s no time. Team training will start again in July in New York, for a limited amount of time because of NCAA rules. We will be doing a lot of athletic training, especially weights and running. However, we will have 20 days off in August, where I might go back home, then in October we will start playing friendly games and in November my third season at St John’s will begin”.