Coming off his second Euroleague season, Asseco Prokom big man Jan Jagla saw more of the competition that ever before and reached the playoffs for the first time. He posted 10 points and 9 rebounds in Game 3 of the series against Olympiacos to help Prokom to its first ever playoff victory. Jagla also became well-known around the league thanks to his popular Euroleague.net blog, which allowed the fans an insight to the playoffs. Now he returns to chime in on the Final Four, summing up his own season and offering up his opinions on what to expect in Paris.
Jan, congratulations on a great season with Prokom. Despite the disappointment of missing the Final Four are you guys happy with all you accomplished?
“Well yes. I think in the beginning it is tough to not make it to the Final Four, but after a few days when you think about what you have accomplished, you can be proud. It was a big surprise for many people and even though we knew that we had a good team, we still had to fight hard throughout the entire season to advance from round to round. I don't think you can be disappointed when you lose in the play offs against a great team like Olympiacos.”
What are your thoughts on Friday's first semifinal, Barcelona vs. CSKA, and which of them do you think will win?
“Barcelona and CSKA both have very good teams, but at the end of the day the depth that Barcelona possesses will probably give them the edge. I think that they have a great team and have so many weapons on the offensive end that it will be very hard to stop them. CSKA has a bunch of proven stars, but Barcelona is my favorite to take the cup this year.”
What are your thoughts on Friday's second semifinal, Partizan vs. Olympiacos, and which of them do you think will win?
“Partizan and Olympiacos will be a test for both, Partizan plays with the most desire I have seen a team play with. They are young and ambitious and face a team of stars, on one of the most prestigious teams in Europe. If the game was played in Belgrade, it would be an easy prediction, but playing on the road in Paris, I think Olympiacos’s experience will tame the young guns of Partizan.”
That gives you a Barcelona vs. Olympiacos final on Sunday. Who do you pick as your Euroleague champion and why?
“In a final between Barcelona and Olympiacos, I have to go with Barcelona again. They have just been playing superb basketball all season and are ready to take it all. I think the triple crown is an option for this great team. Olympiacos will give them a contest to the wire and both teams are able to pull of a win, but my favorite remains FC Barcelona.”
Who do you think will be a likely MVP for that winning team?
“When you look for an MVP, it always comes down to who steps up at what time. Ricky Rubio has been leading this team from the point guard position and they have found an all around player with Pete Michael, but their go-to guy remains Juan Carlos Navarro. On a team that can hit you from every angle and with a diversity of options, I think Navarro will lead this team in the important moments of the Final and claim the MVP trophy.”