Yesterday the boys’ high school basketball team traveled to the outer suburbs of Belgrade to play The First Basketball School of Belgrade. The game was played in the beautiful arena used by the FMP – Belgrade professional basketball club. We specialize in producing global citizens, they specialize in producing basketball players, so you can probably tell how the game turned out. Our student athletes played well and improved quite a bit as the game went on. We even had the support of the cheerleading squad and mascot and both teams appreciated their enthusiasm.
The Principal of the school gave Dr. Sands and I a tour of the facilities after the game. The First Basketball School is for boys ages 14 – 18. The students mostly come from Serbia but they also have international students. The boys want to focus on basketball and two practices per day are an integral part of the curriculum. They have several levels of teams and they play an NBA – type schedule of games. The school is affiliated with the FMP – Belgrade professional team. FMP plays in the NBL Adriatic Basketball Leage. FMP is a steel product factory that sponsors the team. Many of the students are boarding residents and the Principal showed us their rooms. Students from the school after graduation in 11th grade, often complete the final year of their high school in the USA or home countries. Several earned USA university scholarships and some go on to play professionally. Many with the FMP club or other Serbian professional club.
The Serbs know how to do sports and this is an example of it. They take sports to the highest level. Most Serbian youngsters specialize in a sport and they are provided with the best in coaching and time. It is the reason why such a small country has so many successes in sports. They have three players ranked in the top 10 tennis players in the world, the Partizan team is one of the best in Europe, and the national soccer team is leading their group in World Cup qualifying.
Their team was spectacular with height, speed, fundamentals, etc. Our team improved in the second half and raised their game. The team scored 1o more points in the second half than the first and reduced the number of turnovers by 6. It was a good lesson for them. The ISB cheerleaders also performed several dance routines during time outs and cheered on the team during the game.