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Copyright 2019: Emanuel Richter

  • Emanuel Richter

The starting five of my ex-teammates: the Shooting Guard

Dear readers. This time I am going to present the best shooting guard I ever played with.

It was not easy, as it seems, to select one. Yes, because I played with many good shooting guards, and in the end, it was about two names: Vladimir Panic and Saso Ozbolt.

Vladimir Panic may not be as known as Saso, but trust me; it was a hell guarding him every single day in practice while we were teammates in Koper. He was quick, strong and wanted always to have the ball in his hands. He was putting pressure on you attacking every time 1 on 1 or with a pick&roll.

My friends were calling him “Bionical Man”; because he was simply a robot. A scoring maschine! What fascinated me the most from Vladimir was his mentality. I remember him scoring once 39 points and winning the game. I came to our locker room, and saw him nervous. Surprised, I asked him: “Vlado, what’s going on?”. He responds: “I could have scored 40 points but I missed this f**king free throw!”. He was always asking a lot from himself, and wanted to be better every day.

But if I have to select the best shooting guard I ever played with, this has to be Saso Ozbolt. Slovenian National Team Member. Eight Euroleague seasons with Olimpija Ljubljana and Zagreb, averaging 7.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 1.6 apg. Five time Slovenian League Champion, seven time Slovenian Cup champion and two times Slovenian Cup MVP.

He was simply a legend. Seeing him on TV playing against CSKA, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce, and suddenly being teammates, was a big honor for me. We played just one season together, but he made a big impact on my career.

In the 2013/14 season we were teammates in KK Portoroz in the first Slovenian League. I was coming back from a torn ACL injury. The same injury that made Saso’s career slow down. Yes, because he had multiple surgeries on his knee, and probably, because of that, he missed the opportunity to become an NBA player.

We exchanged our injury experiences and he helped me a lot going through the rehabilitation process. I will always be thankful for that.

I will for sure not be thankful for the hell I was going through guarding him in practice :) He was just too experienced and too good. I was giving him a step so he cannot beat me 1 on 1, and he was scoring a three in my face every single time. When I was getting closer to him, he just attacked me and passed me by.

What a player!

Well guys, this has been the best shooting guard I ever played with. Stay tuned for the rest of the starting five.

#startingfive #shootingguard #sasoozbolt #slovenianabroad