Aleksa Avramovic: guy who drove Gilgeous-Alexander and his teammates crazy

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2023-09-10 09:05

Aleksa Avramovic's friends said he drives crazy not only his opponents but also his teammates.

Credit: Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS
Credit Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS

Can you picture a Serbian guy locked in his hotel room, watching Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's film and highlights for two days straight?

It might sound like a joke, but that's Aleksa Avramovic for you, and that guy is crazy.

"We have one guy, Aleksa Avramovic, who has been watching Shai's tapes for the last two days. Highlights, every game," Bogdan Bogdanovic said after the World Cup semifinal win over Canada.

Aleksa Avramovic

Aleksa  Avramovic
Team: Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade
Position: PG
Age: 28
Height: 192 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Birth place: Čačak, Serbia

"He said: 'Trust me, I'm going to steal one ball.' Props to him, props to all guys," the Serbian national team leader praised the Serbian heroes.

Aleksa Avramovic stayed true to his promise, which he had been repeating to his teammates for the 48 hours leading up to the Canada game.

As Canada inbounded the ball to begin the fourth quarter, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was gearing up to set up his teammates for the half-court offense.

However, Avramovic patiently awaited the moment and made a daring move to intercept the ball just as Shai was about to switch sides.

Avramovic seized the ball, executed a spin move, and left Shai sprawled on the floor while he soared for a dunk.

The Serbian players leaped off the bench to celebrate the impressive feat of their resilient point guard.

Avramovic entered the court at the end of the first quarter.

In his very first play, he pressured Gilgeous-Alexander from the baseline, forcing him into a contested mid-range shot that didn't even touch the rim.

It was another defensive stop for Serbia, and Avramovic wasted no time, launching a swift full-court pass in transition to set up Nikola Jovic for an easy layup.

Canada had another offensive possession, but RJ Barrett lost control of the ball due to Serbia's excellent handwork. Avramovic capitalized, stealing the ball and sprinting for a fast-break layup.

With Serbia now leading 21-13, Avramovic emerged as a game-changer, shifting the momentum firmly in their favor.

Jordi Fernandez called a timeout, but Avramovic initiated an offensive foul against Kelly Olynyk for an illegal screen in the first possession following the break.

A few possessions later, RJ Barrett attempted a fast break, but Avramovic read the play brilliantly, swiping the ball from the New York Knicks star. He drew a foul and closed the first quarter with two successful free throws, maintaining Serbia's lead at 23-15.

The lead grew even more significant and remained unshaken throughout the entire game.

That's the Aleksa Avramovic effect, folks.

"Aleksa that you see is literally Aleksa in real life 24/7," Andjusic tells BasketNews.

"We're talking about unmatched energy, something you don't see often. The best thing about it is that it's not only on the court but off the court as well," Andjusic was about to share the story.

"He comes to every practice at 9 in the morning when everyone is still getting ready for the practice. And he just starts talking and asking random questions. Anything that interests him, he will be in your ear all day long, talking about it no matter what kind of a mood you are in. And all you can do is laugh, even if sometimes it's getting annoying," Andjusic laughs.

"But you go with it because that's just him. You can't be mad at him," he added.

"This type of behavior translates to his defense. He just doesn't let people breathe and relax for a second. That's why I'm not surprised that he watched the film for two straight days," Andjusic recalled.

Gilgeous-Alexander had one of his lowest-scoring games, concluding with 15 points and 9 assists. Serbia advanced beyond Canada and reached the World Cup final.

Avramovic's boundless energy has been the driving force behind Serbia's performance in other games, notably his remarkable showing against Lithuania in the quarterfinals.

In this World Cup, Avramovic has maintained an average of 9.7 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, all while playing just 16 minutes per game.

His infectious energy has a ripple effect on the entire team, which has earned a reputation for playing an intense, physical, and high-tempo style of basketball throughout the competition.

Aleksa Avramovic is the illustration of Serbia's DNR.

He's the kind of player who can instantly shift the game's momentum with his mere presence on the court.

"He was hurt for almost half of the season due to a broken hand and returned to the game against Fenerbahce. We had a down period, we played on the road while Fenerbahce was on the top of the EuroLeague," his other teammate from Partizan, Zach LeDay recalls.

"Coach was trying to figure out the right time to put him in. In the end, we were down, and he made some big plays down the stretch. He ended up making a game-winning free throw. It was a big moment in our season, and it helped to turn our season around," he added.

Before this game, Partizan had a record of 4-9, but after this victory, they were just one win away from securing a spot in the Final Four.

"If you watch his game, you can see the energy he injects into the team. He's one of those people who wants to play all, do everything, and cover everything on the floor. It's good for him and his personality right now with Serbia because there's only one Aleksa. His energy and how he sees basketball make him a very different individual. But he loves the game. He's a very passionate and good guy," LeDay concluded.

Danilo Andjusic added: "It's really nice to watch him do his thing. He was a scorer before and still is, but he elevated his game to another level in the last two years. He deserves everything after passing a few big competitions with the NT because of the injury. Finally, it all comes back to him!" 

Serbia may have been without key players like Nikola Jokic, Vasilije Micic, and Nikola Kalinic.

However, role players like Aleksa Avramovic seized the opportunity and emerged as Serbian heroes in their own right.

These X factors played a pivotal role in propelling Serbia into the World Cup title game.


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