Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Danilo Andjusic was one of AS Monaco's early summer signings. The Serbian international came to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague newcomers to boost their backcourt and provide reliable offensive firepower with his excellent shooting skills.

Danilo Andjusic

Danilo  Andjusic
Team: Monaco Basket
Position: SG
Age: 30
Height: 194 cm
Weight: 92 kg
Birth place: Serbia

Andjusic (1.94 meters, 30 years old) arrived from JL Bourg en Bresse, where he ranked second in scoring in the 7DAYS EuroCup last season at 17.4 points per game. He also averaged 3.1 assists in 15 games and was fifth in free throw accuracy at 90.7%.

A native of Belgrade, he started his professional basketball career with Hemofarm Vrsac, had two stints with Partizan Belgrade (2011-12, 2015), an even shorter one with Virtus Segafredo Bologna in Italy, as well as Baloncesto Valladolid and Bilbao Basket of Spain, Anwil Wloclawek of Poland, Parma Perm and UNICS Kazan of Russia, and Igokea Aleksandrovac of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In spite of the accolades he won throughout 12 years of his professional career, Danilo Andjusic has played only 25 EuroLeague games with Partizan and UNICS, averaging 3.6 points. Now, a few weeks before his comeback to the big stage with the EuroCup holders, he seems to be ready for another debut, this time as his team's leading man.

In the recent "BWIN tournament against COVID-19" hosted by Olympiacos Piraeus at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Greece, Andjusic came up big for the French side, scoring a combined 43 points in Monaco's comfortable win against Peristeri and their narrow defeat to the hosts.

"We are a new team and need time to know each other. It's always fun when you come to a new team, especially in the beginning. So, I think we're going to have a lot of fun this year and we're all excited about it," the Serbian sharpshooter told BasketNews as an introduction to an interview that covered the good, the bad, and the beautiful aspects of his playing time with different teams, including those he holds most dearly: Partizan and Serbia.

Monaco come off a competitive tournament in Piraeus. What's the taste left in you after the games against Peristeri and Olympiacos?

It was a pre-season tournament with great teams, a good test for everyone. We had a great game against Peristeri. I know that these friendly games don't mean so much but when you win your first game with a new team, it's always good. On the second day, we played Olympiacos. They have a great, competitive team for the EuroLeague. We are on that level now and it was a good test for us to see where we are at the moment. It was also a nice game to watch. We have a lot of things to improve on. We have less than one month until the beginning of the season and there's room for improvement. We played good basketball. It's always nice to play in Athens, especially against a team like Olympiacos.

It's too early, but Monaco are widely considered as the ultimate underdog for the EuroLeague playoffs. Which would you define as the team's primary goal this season and which outcome would you consider disappointing when all is said and done?

It's too early to talk about that. Maybe some may look at us as the underdogs because we are new in the competition, but we are not afraid of anyone. We will show up, fight and try to win as much as possible. In EuroLeague, we didn't set a goal, like the playoffs or the Final Four. But of course, we all know that we want a good result. I think we have a good, competitive team. We'll see how the season goes and hopefully, we can fight for the TOP 8. You never know.

Monaco is an athletic team that runs up and down the court and goes strong on rebounds. Given your individual performances in the first pre-season friendlies, would you say that it's a playing style that best serves your skills?

First of all, I decided to come because of the coach and the way he likes to play. I knew that I could fit in that kind of system. We are an athletic team and we want to play hard defense, although we didn't show it that much in the recent tournament. We want to run in transition, get some easy buckets, get on the offensive rebounds. That's going to be our style this season.

Last season, you were the French League's first scorer. How can your scoring ability translate to the EuroLeague level?

I'm just doing my job on the court and I will do whatever my team needs. No matter if it's the French League or the EuroLeague, I'm experienced enough and I know that I can play at that level. On the other hand, the most important thing is how we play as a team. I am not afraid of anything. I have played in the EuroLeague before, maybe not with the role I was supposed to have. But I think that this year is going to be different.

Credit AS Monaco

Which of the great scorers of the past do you look up to?

There are many and it's hard to remember one. I had the luck to play with and against a lot of great players. The first name that comes to mind is Keith Langford. He was EuroLeague's top scorer twice, I played with him and I consider him one of the best one-on-one, offensive players ever. I knew him as an opponent, but as I came to play next to him I saw that his scoring ability is amazing - it still is, although he's 38. That's incredible!

Your last EuroLeague participation was with UNICS Kazan four years ago. What was so memorable and what was utterly forgettable from that season (2016-17)?

There was nothing forgettable. I'm only looking at the positive things that happened in my career. Even in that situation, I gained a lot of experience and I played with great guys at that moment. The bad thing was that I came in the middle of the season and it was hard to adjust to a team where almost everything was set. In the beginning, I was just trying to fit in the team and do my best. Sometimes it was good, other times I wasn't playing so much. I didn't have a clear role at the moment; it was changing game by game and maybe that was a problem because you couldn't know what to expect. But I learned a lot and it was a good experience for me because I came to a good team and I have no regrets about anything.

Credit Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

To what extent do you feel that you have become a different player since then? Who or what should take credit for it?

Credit goes to my family. They always supported me, through good and bad, and just never gave up on me, no matter the circumstances. Also, my entire support system in the past few years has been amazing, and everyone worked towards the same goal.

Starting with my individual coaches; Zlatko Novkovic and Tihomir Marjanovic for strength and conditioning and Goran Vuckovic for basketball skills and development, then my psychologist Djordje Koldzic and of course my agent Gorjan Radonjic. I have to thank also JL Bourg and coaches Savo Vucevic and Boban Savovic who recognized what I'm capable of and let me be me, which led to two amazing years in Bourg for myself and the club. They gave me the opportunity and the freedom to show my level on the court.

However, most of the credit I would give to myself because no matter what I went through, giving up was never an option. I always believed in myself and the potential I have. I didn't give up, even in a hard situation, and I believed that I could be at a high level. I was just waiting for the right place and the right moment to show that. I worked my tail off, so I can be where I am today, but I don't want to stop here. I think there is still a lot more to come.

Partizan has been the only team for which you've played in two different terms. Would you be interested in having another one?

With Partizan, I can never exclude that kind of situation. It is my club, the team I was cheering for since I was a kid. I had the opportunity to play for them and they will always be in my heart. So, you never know. Maybe one day I will come back.

The squad of the 2011-12 season featured - among others- Bogdan Bogdanovic, Vladimir Lucic, Miroslav Radulica, Milan Macvan and Davis Bertans. At some point in the season, Jan Vesely, Acie Law, James Gist and even Nikola Pekovic played with the team. In fact, Law left Partizan for Olympiacos and became EuroLeague champion down the road. Was that the most talented team you've been a part of?

Probably... We had some of the biggest names in European basketball. We had a young, talented team and it was a pleasure to play alongside them. Now, the feeling is better when you look at the squad that we had. It was incredible. I've got to also mention Bilbao. When I went there, I played alongside Mumbru, Raul Lopez and other legends of Spanish basketball. It was nice because I learned a lot from them. Of course, I cannot forget the Serbian national team, where I played with Teodosic, Bjelica, Radulica, Bogdanovic. It was one hell of a squad! We had some of the best players in European basketball.

Credit KK Partizan

What do you think of the latest developments in the club, with Obradovic taking the reins and first-class players coming in?

I think it's a big thing. First of all, when Obradovic came, I knew that with him only good things were going to happen: players, budget, fans, everything. He's probably the best coach in European history and I'm glad he came back to Partizan. Obviously, he has a lot of work ahead of him but he's the right man to restore Partizan to where they should normally be: the EuroLeague level. I hope to see them there in the next one or two years.

It's interesting that you also signed a four-year deal with Virtus Bologna in 2013 but in fact, you hardly ever played with them.

Yes, I signed a long-term deal but Virtus had a lot of problems at the time. It was not as good a situation as it is now. So, I played only half of the season there and then I went to Spain on loan for three years. They got relegated into the second division and there was no point in me going back.

If you were to predict which one of your two ex-teams will succeed Monaco in the EuroCup throne and get the ticket to the 2022-23 EuroLeague, would you pick Virtus or Partizan and why?

Partizan because I'm cheering for them and I want to see them in the EuroLeague. Both have great squads, but Partizan are the main candidates to play there. I was part of both teams, so whoever wins I will be glad. Virtus have a great team too, with Teodosic, Belinelli, and other experienced guys that have played on the highest level. It's going to be an interesting season.

Let's get to the Serbian national team. We saw some very harsh statements being made, especially by Nemanja Bjelica, after the loss to Italy in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament's final game in Belgrade. He said that "it's a big shame" and that you can't "have Milos Teodosic playing full-court press for 40 minutes". Do his words reflect your feelings too or was he overreacting?

Everybody has their own feelings and that moment was really hard for all of us. Maybe we said some emotional things that were the first to cross our minds. That's how he felt and I respect that. He's an experienced guy, a great player, and has been playing with the national team for 15 years. So, he has the right to say what's on his mind.

I agree with him that it's a big shame for everybody that we didn't get the qualification. I feel the same. For me personally, it's the hardest loss I ever had in my career. Everybody expected from us - and we expected from ourselves- to go to the Olympics. It was surprising and it still feels hard talking about it.


The current squad still has the likes of Bjelica, Kalinic, Teodosic, Marjanovic. But it's Micic and Jokic who really stand out. What does the future hold for Serbia?

Kalinic, myself, Bjelica and Teo have become a bit older but we still have young guys like Vasa who's probably one of the best players in the EuroLeague right now, Jokic who's the NBA MVP, Petrusev who now plays for Efes; I think he will be a big player for the national team in the future. Those young guys can carry the team to the place that Serbia should be. In the next couple of years, I hope that Serbia doesn't need to worry about the team because if we are all healthy and ready to play, we will be good.

Recently, you welcomed your second child. One major Serbian tradition is to rip off a piece of the new father's shirt when greeting him. What was your teammates' reaction when they were told about it?

I really appreciate all the things that happened. We were in Bormio for training camp. I was far from my family and I'm not going to lie; it was hard for me because in that kind of moment you want to be with your family to celebrate with them. On the other hand, my teammates helped me not feel alone. After practice, they prepared a small celebration and gave me a gift signed by all of them. We had a great time together. Also, they respected my tradition of ripping off the shirt. Especially Leo (Westermann) because he knows Serbian tradition. I'm really thankful to have them as teammates.

What's up with the French connection in Partizan? Lauvergne and Westermann becae hard-nosed fans of the club in no time.

I know that Leo has fallen in love with Partizan during the Paris Final Four (in 2010). Then, he got the call to play with them and he couldn't say no. They all had a great experience going to Partizan and playing for those fans. When you play for that club and you feel the atmosphere, it's hard to forget it. We usually talk about it with Leo and Lauvergne. It's nice to remember the time we had there.


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