Aleksandar Langovic may come from the small Serbian town of Prijepolje, but U18 Mega Bemax Belgrade's stud prospect can draw motivation from a basketball great who also hails from the same place. Langovic was named MVP of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Belgrade after helping Mega to first place over the weekend, but the 2.06-meter forward still has a long way to go to match the career accolades of fellow Prijepolje native Vlade Divac.
"I don't have any connection, we don't have any family connection. but I would love to meet him and talk to him," Langovic said of Divac, who was also born in the town of about 15,000 people near the Montenegro border in southwestern Serbia.
Knowing that Divac – who won a pair of world championships, three FIBA EuroBasket titles and two Olympic silver medals as a player – is also from Prijepolje gives Langovic reason to believe anything is possible.
"It's a big motivation for me. I am pretty sure that Prijepolje is burning now. They cheer for me and this is a motivation for me too to continue to improve and work hard," Langovic said.
Now in his fourth season with Mega, Langovic's hard work is starting to bear fruit. This season he has played in the top Serbian league, the KLS, for OKK Belgrade.
"It’s a really big experience for me. I'm playing against older, stronger and more experienced men and I'm trying to learn as much as I can. And some of the things I learn there I can use here at this level," said Langovic, who is averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds with OKK.
Langovic used that experience in leading Mega to a historic victory over local rival U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, 73-63 in the ANGT Belgrade first-place game. It marked the first time Mega has beaten Zvezda in this competition.
"It’s a big honor to beat Zvezda on its home court and for me it's an honor to participate in this tournament," said Langovic, who collected 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists in the first-place game – Zvezda's first loss at ANGT Belgrade since 2011, ending a streak of eight straight tournament wins.
Langovic averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in four games at ANGT Belgrade. Those numbers helped Mega get back to the ANGT Finals for a fourth straight time. Langovic and co will be aiming to at least match the result of the 2016-17 team, which reached the ANGT Championship Game and lost to U18 CFBB Paris in Istanbul.
"For every team the main goal is to win the tournament. We will for sure give our best to win. The tournament is a long time away, but we will prepare well for it," Langovic said.
The versatile big man knows he will likely need another MVP-worthy performance for Mega to win the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz. But Langovic also says it must be a team effort.
"It’s a good feeling to win this [MVP] award, but I play for the team and our goal is to win as a team. Players don't win games, teams win games," he maturely stated.
The win over Zvezda was also special for Langovic because it was against players he knows very well; five of the Zvezda players were his teammates on the Serbian national team at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018.
"Of course it will be a little joke from my side, but we are good friends and it won't be anything serious. When we play as the national team, we are one," Langovic said.
The ANGT Finals and the national team are just two chances for Langovic to win big games - just like the many his fellow Prijepolje native Vlade Divac won.