Sunday 22 September 2019

We are very pleased to welcome for the first time Sretan Radovic at the REFEREE.PL camp. Sreto is an international active referee from Croatia with an extensive experience on the court. He currently officiates Euroleague and Adriatic league. In the past you could see him on the FIBA and VTB courts and also many international top level tournaments like Olympic Games, World Championships, EuroBasket. Please see a quick talk with Sretan to get to know him little better before the camp and see his expectations and goals as an instructor.

Career highlights:

  • Became a referee in the age of 16 (while being a player)
  • Played until 27 and coached young categories until 33
  • Started active referee career in the age of 27 (1995)
  • 1998. (30) joined 1st CRO division
  • 2001. (33) became FIBA referee
  • 2007. (39) joined Euroleague
  • 2016. in 1st generation passed FRIP program and became FIBA referee’s instructor
  • 5 years FIBA National instructor in Croatia.
  • FIBA tournaments: Olympic Games Rio 2016, World Championship Spain 2014 (semi-finals USA-LTU), 5 Eurobasket (Spain 2007, Poland 09, Lithuania 11 - Final game ESP_FRA, Slovenia 13 and France 15), Man F4, Woman F4, CBA (Chinese finals 2009)
  • Euroleague finals: 2 F4 Istanbul 2010 and Belgrade 2018, 3 Euro Cup finals.
  • VTB(PBL) referee for 10 years: finals and F4.
  • ABA referee, from the first year (2001), many F4, final.
  • In CRO, since 2001 (1st finals), all final games every year.

First time at REFEREE.PL, we celebrate 16 years this time, have you heard about the camp before? What made you come this year?

Sretan: I have heard about your camp first from my friend Mr. Zamojski, then from my colleagues who worked there as instructors and finally from referees attended the camp. Also, I’ve seen some photos and materials from previous camps. I was invited last year but I was already preoccupied so I had to refuse. This year I’m glad I can come from several reasons: your camp is well known in Europe and guarantees good quality; I love to spend time with people from officiating family; I enjoy teaching/working with referees, but also learning from them as well as from other instructors.

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In your long official career, you went through many leagues, FIBA, VTB which you don’t officiate anymore, and Euroleague and Adriatic league which you continue to officiate. How would you compare the basketball and refereeing in all of them?

Sretan: I started in Croatia as referee and I learned a lot from players, coaches, referees, commissioners, instructors and sometimes spectators and people around basketball (Zadar, Split, Sibenik, Zagreb).
In FIBA I had chance to work with some of the best basketball referees, commissioners and instructors and I grew up as a referee there. I collected experience and knowledge in youth championships (I had from 2 to 5 each summer). This was the stage which took me to big stage - OG, WC, EB.
Finally, as experienced referee, I joined Euroleague. But, don’t think for a second that I didn’t continue to learn and collect experience/knowledge there. On the contrary, although Euroleague is professional and the best league after NBA, I learned a lot here. And I’m still learning. But Euroleague is something special. Different from all other leagues. In Euroleague, you work with the best players and coaches (referees too) and you must perform at the top level. Even today as 51, I’m looking forward to each Euroleague nomination and I enjoy these games a lot!
VTB is excellent competition with great clubs, players, coaches. Great games, great matchups helped me to know players and coaches better, but also to know myself better.
ABA is also excellent competition with very specific games and surroundings that make you stronger (if you manage to survive 😊 ). I improved a lot there, especially management skills and officiating in tough conditions.
So, if you ask me, Euroleague is Formula 1, but to get the chance to perform there, you need to use every opportunity to practice in strong competitions such as ABA and VTB.

You were nominated to referee EuroBaskets, world championships, many tournaments, which one of them was the most outstanding for you, which one you remember?

Sretan: Of course, I will remember Olympic Games in Rio or World Championship in Spain. For sure Euroleague F4 is something each one of us is dreaming every single season. But for me the “dream tournament” was EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania. I officiated many excellent games there and the last game, I was one of 3 refs selected for the final game France-Spain! The crowd, NBA stars on the court, game itself and my partners Ilija and Luigi. Perfect 3 weeks and fabulous ending.

You almost worked at FIBA Europe as the referee director, is it true? Would you like to tell us the story and how it turned out?

Sretan: There was a chance in 2015, but luckily, I wasn’t selected. If I was, I should have stopped refereeing and today (without age limit) I would be probably wondering if I’ve chosen the best option. Nothing can be compared with the feeling when you’re on the court!

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You work as instructor now, how would you like to train your referees? What are the best qualities in referee to achieve and stay at the top level?

Sretan: Thanks to Edo Tartaglia who introduced me into instructor’s business and explained many things to me and Goran Radonjic who was/is excellent teacher I felt in love with teaching referees. I was lucky to work with some of the best teachers during my career and I took from each one of them something which might help me being better referee and instructor. If I mention Lubo, Miguel, Costas, Carl, Alan, Richard, Willy, Danko, Nikos, Todd, Uli, Romas, Juanito, Cema, Alejandro, Ronnie, Terry, Bill, Jerald and many others (they will forgive me, but there were so many great people), you will understand what fortune I was able to get from them. Of course, I tried to create my style, to combine what I’ve learned from them and what I experienced on/off the court. Top referee is combination of many qualities and skills. What works for me is always try to be fair to players, coaches, spectators and colleagues. Don’t do things you didn’t like as a player/coach. Be honest and admit when you made mistake - it’s the only way not to make it again. Work hard and use both good and bad moments to motivate-push yourself even harder. Understand that you can learn from anybody on/off the court and use his example/ideas to improve yourself again and again, because if you’re not improving, you’re going down. Finally, enjoy your games, camps, leagues, tournaments, but don’t forget to enjoy your family, friends and life itself.

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