Džana Crnac, with number 4, is an Icelandic basketball international. She played for UMF Njardvik until last season. This season she is playing for Athena-UMFK Reykjavik, a whole new adventure. Her ambition is to become a doctor in the future. For that, she wants to use basketball to play in the US and study there too. She knows how it feels to win a championship. Photo: FIBA Europe
Many different sports
Basketball wasn’t the only sport Džana did. She did about everything, and didn’t even think about being a basketball player. “To be honest, I wanted to quit playing basketball,” Džana admits. “I started to play basketball when I was six years old. My best friend was doing that to, but I liked to switch between different kinds of sports: basketball, volleyball and judo. I did a lot of sport, and I was planning to playing football as well. My parent got quite annoyed, because all I did was switching sports. My father decided that I should keep playing basketball. Back then I was pretty mad, but after that I am very grateful! Basketball is my biggest passion. When I play basketball I forget about everything that happened. It is like my outlet, and I love the game because I can be myself as I want to be. It makes me who I am, by working hard and practicing a lot!
I love Michael Jordan, the way he has worked hard all the time! There is also a coach here in Iceland I have looked up to since I was younger: Brittany Dinkins. She is from the US, and she is the first coach that made me realize how good I actually am. She is a leader on the floor, and inspired me a lot!”
“I joined Njardvik because I had an opportunity to grow further”
For two years Džana played for UMF Njardvik. It was the first time she played in the highest league of Iceland, with some amazing performances “Back then I was the rookie in the team, only 15 years old. What I liked about it was that I came into a team with a lot of experienced player. I joined Njardvik because I had an opportunity to grow further. You could feel the team spirit and the progression within the team chemistry. For me to experience that, and winning the championship is amazing! The fans were amazing, and they cheered you up. They had a lot of confidence in me, and I kept learning a lot. It made me a better player, and I would tell to other players to try those kinds of opportunities out!
New opportunities this season
Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, is Džana’s new place to play basketball. She will make new memories and maybe there will be more amazing performances as well. “Brynjar Sigurðsson, my current coach, is a very experienced coach. He made an Icelandic documentary about the journey of a girls’ basketball team, called Raise the bar which came out in February 2021. I loved everything what I had me offered by getting better. He said that I have talent, and that he was really that he was going to put effort in that. I can shoot well, but I can improve me technical parts. I didn’t know where I wanted to be in five years, and he inspired me in some way. I want to reach everything I can! In the US there are a lot of schools and opportunity of course. Brynjar told me to find the right school for me”
How it feels to be an Icelandic international
Džana is also playing for the international youth team of Iceland. That team has grown a lot, and is making a lot of progression. It is an honor for her to become an international. “I met a lot of the players they I played against in the competition. They are my best friends, and I still talk to them every day. Playing for the national team is something different. In the Icelandic competition you play against teams that are really strong. The level of a European championship competition is different. Sometimes you play against tough teams, something you win with a lot of points. It was a great experience, and we played good together. Our defense was a lot better. I would highly recommend everyone to take the opportunity to play for the national team!”
Photo: FIBA Europe