Just as the EuroLeague season is about to begin, Israeli guard Yam Madar will start his second year with Partizan Belgrade as he will have the opportunity to play in the continent’s top competition for the first time.
The Boston Celtics draft stash will be looking to build off of his first year in Serbia with legendary head coach Zeljko Obradovic at the helm of the team as Madar knows that all eyes will be on him as Partizan’s lead guard and floor general.
Just ahead of the season opener on Friday at Alba Berlin, Srdon Todorovic from Telegraf in Serbia sat down with Madar to discuss Israel at the Eurobasket, Novak Djokovic’s Tel Aviv triumph, the city of Belgrade and the new season ahead.
“It’s going to be tough but an exciting season. Everyone is waiting for the season to start and we want to go on the floor and compete. Not everything is perfect just yet and we want to make sure that we do all of the little things and fight more.”
Since Madar was at the Eurobasket in Prague he arrived midway through the preseason, “For me it’s as different because I didn’t have enough time to be with the team as I was playing in the Eurobasket. I joined a little late, so for me it was a different predation. But I think I prepared myself well playing against players like Vasilije Micic, Nikola Kalinic and all of those guys. I’ll play these guys again during the season and I’m excited and waiting for that.”
Israel began the Eurobasket with a 2-0 record but then fell in three straight and were eliminated from advancing to the knockout stages in Berlin. Madar was no doubt disappointed but also looked at the experience as a positive one.
“I’m very disappointed as to what happened. But that’s basketball, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I’m not satisfied because with the talent we had we had to take ourselves to the next round. But we were a young group and sometimes you can’t cheat and jump all of the steps at one time and you need to take it step by step. So I can say it was great preparation for us for the next tournament and we will go there with more experience after everybody will spend more time with their own teams and will grow. We will get more mature to take Israel where it needs to be and take Israeli basketball to the place it should be. Hopefully the next time we will complete our first mission to qualify for the second round.”
Madar moved away from Israel last year and seems to have found a home away from home in Belgrade, “I really enjoyed coming back to Belgrade and it’s as very exciting to see the city again and I missed it. I really like the people, the food and the culture. I’m grateful to wear the Partizan jersey and being able to share my games with the fans, it’s something special.”
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic just featured in the ATP tournament in Tel Aviv and his time in the Holy Land was much appreciated by many Madar explained.
“I think Israel was waiting for someone of his caliber to come and he showed a lot of love to Israel. He’s really special. The whole country is talking about it and with all of the difficult times in the country to see people smiling is very important. It’s thanks to this special athlete that shows that he is much more than just a tennis player.”
With the basketball about to be tossed up in the air to tip-off the new season, Madar has one thing in mind for Partizan, “I love basketball more than anything. So the fact that I have now a chance to compete in the EuroLeague against high level players will for sure motivate me to come and work and do whatever I can to prepare myself in the best way to come and play the best team basketball to win games.”