Gligorije Rakocevic has, without a doubt, the best and most important epithet of any player on the Beaver’s roster this year: Big G. (Side note: other important G’s worth mentioning are as follows: G-Unit, Susan G. Komen, and Jeezy, who is a different kind of G but still a very important G).
Coming off his first season with the Beavers in which he had a sparing role minutes-wise, Big G looks to capitalize on his long summer spent refining his game. According to an interview with Danny Moran of the Oregonian, Wayne Tinkle appears to be very open to the idea of using multiple big men on the court at once.
If Tinkle really wants to try and play big this year, Gligorije has shown significant improvement in the off-season. His commitment to the weight room and his diet transformed his body. The sophomore Montenegro product has more than earned his fair share of minutes.
Given the Beaver’s relative lack of length at most positions and last year’s struggle on the boards, it makes sense for Tinkle to experiment with a bigger lineup. But figuring out how to play defense against the small-ball movement that has overtaken basketball is a totally different story. The Beavers could consider stretching the defense out with multiple post players on the court, experimenting with a high 3-2 or possibly a 2-1-2, with the two bigs on the blocks running the baselines. Given both Drew Eubanks and Rakocevic’s athleticism, Tinkle has room for creativity.
Rakocevic, my favorite city in Iceland, agreed to do an interview with us (when I say interview, I mean I slid into his DMs and he was totally cool and just responded to my questions. Big G is the best, guys). So without further ado, let the big guy speak:
I’ve heard you lost 10 pounds over the summer, right? How’d you do it?
“Over this summer I actually lost around 20-22 pounds. It was really hard for me to lose weight at one point, so I had to change my diet. Losing 20 pounds changed a lot of things and I just feel way better and faster, which is going to help me throughout the season.”
(Side note: Remember that summer that LeBron lost all that weight? And then Skinny LeBron was so much better than everyone else because Skinny LeBron was like a cheetah on the savanna averaging a double-double every night after spending the day chasing down gazelles? Okay well guess who ALSO wears number 23 and lost a bunch of weight this summer and is going to average 10 and 12? Hint: It’s Big G)
What did you work on the most in the off-season?
“I spent a lot of time working with Coach Rupp in the off-season. Mostly we worked on defensive skills and on my mid-range shot. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new things in the off-season, but there are a lot of things to work on.”
Who would you say is the most exciting addition to the team this year?
“I would say that JaQuori is the most exciting addition to our team. But I am really excited about our new guys, we just have to learn to play as a team. And I’m sure that they are going to help us a lot this season.”
Did you get to go home over the summer? How was it?
“So I went home this summer for the first time after 13 months. I was home for a month or so! And it was awesome. I had a really good time with my family, and it was good to rest from basketball for a little bit.”
How have your friends and family in Montenegro responded to you playing college ball here in the State’s?
“I would say that they love it. My family and friends are so excited for my season. My family is my biggest support and they are always there for me. No matter what I decide to do in my life they are gonna be there to support me.”
For more on Big G, check this out: