Follow FIBA on Facebook
"I told the coach to draw the last play up for me," says MVP Prkacin
NOVI SAD (FIBA U16 European Championship 2018) - These are the kinds of games that build superstars. FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 MVP Roko Prkacin is next in line, no doubt about it.
It was a tough Final for him, in which he battled with Usman Garuba, exchanging highlight plays from the very first minutes of the game. Then they both went quiet as Boris Tisma put on a show, but when the final minute arrived, Prkacin knew it was his time to shine.
"First comment? No comment," Prkacin smiled. "We are European champs, what else do you need me to say? This is what we came for, we were not here to win a silver or a bronze, we wanted the gold, and we deserved it completely."
Once Garuba fouled out with a minute left in the game, the sea parted for Prkacin. Coach Milan Karakas handed him the reins, yelling to push the tempo because when you have a player like Prkacin in a wide open space, thunderous dunks will happen.
"When the last minute happened, I was just thinking, man, we really need to get this over with. That was the only thought I had in my mind, if no one else wants it, I would be the one to get this over with," Prkacin offered with a golden Molten ball for the MVP of the tournament in his hands.
"For the dunk, I saw that he moved a bit to the left to prevent the pass. But, come on, there was no pass coming," Prkacin laughed out loud. "And for the last play, with six seconds to go, I told the coach to draw something up for me."
Confident would be an understatement in an attempt to describe Prkacin's amazing demeanor on the court. Coach Karakas said that he had no other plans than to draw it up for him anyway, but also added that this request paints a clearer picture to the world about his character.
"The MVP award really doesn't mean that much to me, not as much as the fact that we are European champions and that I have this medal around my neck," Prkacin explained.
There will be celebrations after this triumph, but as soon as Monday arrives, he will be the first one back in the gym.
"This award, this gold, this trophy...they are not a burden to me. Just something that will make me go even harder. People have now seen that I am a talented player. Now it's time for me to put even more work in. I have no wishes about the near future, no aspirations about playing for the senior team or whatever. I just want to work as hard as I can," Cibona's point forward concluded.
Roko Prkacin averaged 18.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 blocks per game, and was also selected to the All-Star Five. Joining him in the team of the tournament was his teammate Boris Tisma, after putting up 18.0 points and shooting 43% on five three-point attempts per game for Croatia.
Despite the loss in the Final, Usman Garuba and Hector Alderete both made the All-Star Five. Garuba had 16.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in Novi Sad, Alderete was the team captain and the leader Spain needed, with his best three games coming in the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and the Final.
The last position on the All-Star Five belongs to Alperen Sengun of Turkey. The center had 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per outing, guiding the Turkish ship to the last step on the podium.