Katarina Knežević is an 18-year-old Serbian basketball talent who has taken the basketball world from her early days on the football field to earning a bronze medal at the 2022 U18 European Championship. Her journey is a testament to passion, hard work, and the unique spirit of Serbian basketball. Photo: FIBA Europe
Katarina’s basketball influences
Discover Katarina's transition from a six-year football player to the fast-paced world of basketball. Learn how a Serbian streetball player ignited her love for the game, setting her on a path to becoming a formidable force on the court. “Before basketball I used to play football for six years,” Katarina says. “I started playing basketball when I was 14 years old, by starting practicing basketball and doing some drills. I watched a Serbian streetball player, and he made me love the sport that much. In Serbia we are good and both 3x3 and 5x5, thanks to all the players that manage to make that possible!”
Explore Katarina's basketball idols, including the legendary Kobe Bryant, and her admiration for contemporary stars like Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Kevin Durant. Find out how these influences shape her playing style and contribute to her success.
Thriving in the Serbian basketball crucible
Delve into Katarina's experiences with renowned Serbian clubs Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) and KK Partizan. Understand how exposure to different coaches and high-level competition has accelerated her development, making her the second-best scorer in her last season. “I gained a lot of experience at different coaches, so it was important for my development to play there. They are developing pretty young players to a high level. I think in my four years that I play basketball, I learned a lot in a pretty short time. Last season I was the second best scorer, and for me at was really nice to compete against those players and to develop myself.”
A new adventure: playing basketball in Gran Canaria
Playing basketball in a whole different country, but a very strong country. Katarina makes her potential come true at Spar Gran Canaria. “I was so excited that this happened, because it means a lot to me. Competing against the best players in the world makes me feel so excited. The most important thing for me is to develop myself a lot more. Playing more games and though games will help me with that!”
A bronze triumph: Katarina and team Serbia's European passion
Relive the excitement of winning the bronze medal at the 2022 U18 European Championship. Uncover the challenges faced, the team's defensive prowess, and the hard work that propelled them to success. Learn how this victory catapulted them into the highly competitive Division A in 2023. “During the under 18 European championship I played for the national team of Serbia as a power forward. That is not particularly the position I am playing at. Nevertheless, I think that I can play at that position as well, but I am more comfortable at the shooting guard / small forward position. I definitely think that I can help my team win in offense and defense. Passion compared with competition made it possible to develop myself. Playing for the national team is a real honor!
It was tough, because I never felt the emotion when you play for your country before. As the time went on, I felt more comfortable. I try to bring every kind of power for the national team, and I hope to continue with playing for the national team.
We won the bronze medal in 2022. We had a lot of possibilities throughout the whole competition. It was amazing to so the effort in our team, and all the hard work that paid off. You have to give everything to win, like we were really good in defense during that game. Winning the bronze medal made it possible to play in division A in 2023, which was more competitive, tougher to play. We competed against the better players from all over Europe. I loved that!”
Photo: FIBA Europe
Defensive dominance: Serbia's basketball identity
Explore the unique basketball culture in Serbia, where the combination of passion and defensive prowess defines the nation's playing style. Despite being a small country, Serbia stands tall in the basketball arena. “When we talk about Serbia and defense, we always feel our energy in defense. That is what makes us unique. Serbia is a pretty small, but in basketball terms a big country.”
As Katarina continues to develop her skills in Spain and represent Serbia on the international stage, her journey unfolds as a story of determination, unity, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Join us in following this rising star as she leaves an indelible mark on the world of basketball. She just wants to share this with us: “When you play for the national team, there are a lot of things that connect you with other players. We all share the same passion with each other.”
Photo: FIBA Europe