Aleksa Uskokovic just wants his team to play good basketball and doesn’t want to bask in individual glory. But the guard claimed his spot in a growing line of champions as tournament MVP after U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade won its seventh consecutive EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Qualifying Tournament Marko Ivkovic Belgrade title.
"It's unbelievable for me and the whole team. It’s a great success again for us," said Uskokovic, who averaged 16.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals in the tournament and had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the final against U18 Mega Bemax Belgrade. Uskokovic follows in the footsteps of past Zvezda players who won the title in Belgrade including Marko Guduric, Dusan Ristic, Nikola Rebic, Nikola Rakicevic, Vojislav Stojanovic, Stefan Lazarevic, Aleksa Radanov, Borisa Simanic and Aleksandar Aranitovic.
"It's demanding to be the main player in this team," Uskokovic admitted. "I just try to do what the coach and club expects from me: to be a main playmaker and give assists to the team. I just want to play very good basketball."
This is the second go-around in the ANGT for Uskokovic, who was part of the Zvezda team that won the Belgrade crown last season and then reached its third straight ANGT Finals Championship Game last season. The Belgrade native made a big jump even last season within the club. After averaging 4.8 points, 1.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals at ANGT Belgrade, Uskokovic collected 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals at the ANGT Finals in Berlin.
He then watched the leaders of last season’s team - Simanic, Radanov and others - move into senior basketball and took over the team. And with Crvena Zvezda that means winning.
"Every year we just want to win this tournament. This is a great tournament for us and a great opportunity to show our great game," Uskokovic said. "It is tradition for us. We just try to win every year. We did that and I am so happy."
Uskokovic is happy, but not satisfied. This is just the first step. He and the rest of the team is aiming for a return to the ANGT Finals Championship Game, which would be its fourth consecutive.
"Now we will be going to Istanbul and our target it the title," said Uskokovic, who would like to add a second ANGT crown to the club’s trophy case following the 2014 title. "U18 FC Barcelona Lassa, U18 Zalgiris Kaunas and U18 Real Madrid will be in Istanbul. Every year we want to play our best and represent our club. I don’t know what we will be able to do in Istanbul. But I know that we will give our best and we want to win the title."
Spoken like a true leader of a long-time winning organization.