Dino Radoncic really doesn't have to look far to find motivation. Working alongside rising star Luka Doncic helped Radoncic get to where his is today, which is MVP of the EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT - Qualifying Tournament Coin after leading U18 Real Madrid to the title at the event.
"He gives me a lot of motivation because we are like brothers," Radoncic said of Doncic, who won the ANGT Finals with U18 Madrid in 2015 and has since graduated to a crucial role with Los Blancos' senior squad.
Radoncic and Doncic have quite a few similarities. Both were raised in the former Yugoslavia; Radoncic was born in Germany, moved to Spain when he was 5 years old and then to Serbia at age 8. Doncic was born and raised in Slovenia. Both also have fathers who were athletes. Radoncic's dad, Damir, played handball for the Yugoslavian national team and Doncic's father, Sasa, played at EuroBasket 2005 for Slovenia. Both were also born in 1999; Radoncic turned 18 in January and Doncic will celebrate his 18th birthday at the end of February.
Radoncic and Doncic have been with Madrid since 2014, which has given Dino a front row seat to watch Luka’s meteoric rise. "I know how hard he worked for it, so when I see him I know that everything is possible," Radoncic said.
Radoncic has not yet become a regular on the Madrid professional team’s roster despite appear gin a handful of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague or Spanish League games last season. He is with Madrid’s entry in the EBA this season and dominating games similar to how he did at ANGT Coin, where he averaged 19.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals, while hitting 11 of 14 three-pointers (78.6%). He saved his best for last by pouring in 37 points to go with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for a performance index rating of 37 in the ANGT Coin championship game against U18 Unicaja Malaga.
"The main motivation for me and the team was to win this championship. We knew it would be tough, but we got it," Radoncic, said. Besides learning from Doncic and his club mates at Madrid, Radoncic also said U18 Madrid’s loss to U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade at last year's ANGT Finals in Berlin had a lingering impact. "I think we played a really good game and gave our everything, but Zvezda was better in key moments and they won," he said. Radoncic had 16 points in the defeat, which meant Zvezda and not Madrid would play in the 2016 ANGT Championship Game, where Zvezda then lost to U18 FC Barcelona Lassa.
"It helped me a lot because this time I knew what to do better than last time," he said. "Always learn." Now Radoncic goes for the ANGT Finals title in Istanbul at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, where he hopes to match his "brother" Luka Doncic and win the continental championship. "We are going there to win, nothing else."