Mario Hezonja blasts FIBA refereeing: 'It's terrible'

2022-09-04 07:21

Mario Hezonja had a long discussion with one of the match officials during the game against Great Britain. After the duel, he admitted that it's just not worth 'dying on the court' when referees don't prepare for the game.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

The Croatian national team achieved its first victory at EuroBasket 2022 by defeating Great Britain, 86-65.

Mario Hezonja, who contributed to a convincing win with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, spoke about Jaleen Smith's naturalization and FIBA refereeing after the game.

"As much as we think it's not right, I think it's a great decision to bring [Jaleen] Smith," the new Real Madrid signing started. "He now plays in the EuroLeague and he's a serious player. Smith helps us a lot.

But there are others as well. It's difficult for Dario [Saric] to play after such serious injuries and years without basketball, but tonight he had a great game. Bojan [Bogdanovic] plays great all the time, and I don't even need to speak about Kruna [Krunoslav Simon]. All for one, one for all," Hezonja told

Although Croatia finished the game with a crushing W, both teams were separated by only 6 points at halftime (37-31). A tense fight on the court transferred to the emotions outside of basketball.

Mario Hezonja was not satisfied with the referees' calls, and at the end of the first half, he had a long discussion with one of the match officials.

"It's terrible, I would have liked to attend their [referees'] meetings this summer. I don't know if I'm even allowed to talk about this so that I don't get punished, although I'm not afraid of it. But the referee tells me at halftime, 'Sorry, I wasn't in a good position,'" Hezonja began the refereeing topic.

"I don't know how I can prepare for the match for two or three hours, to come, to die on the court, while officials don't prepare for the game. They have to do scouting too. The referee apologized to me at the end, but we shouldn't get into disputes about that.

We get nervous and it takes away momentum from our game, so the balls are dropped. I would like to see what their mentality is and how they talk because the criteria are not clear to me," concluded the star forward.


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