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Talking Sports with Lacrosse pro Ilija Gajic

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Ilija Gajic, a Colorado Mammoth transition player, recently took time to do an interview with The Capital Sports Report. The interview is about his lacrosse career.

Photo Credit: Michael Martin/Colorado Mammoth

TCSR: Why did you choose to attend Denver?

IG: “They offered me a scholarship to play lacrosse. In addition, I was able to play with my friends on the team. Matt Brown and Geoff Snider were on the team, so that made my decision easy.”

TCSR: Bill Tierney was named the Denver head coach shortly after you left the team. What do you think it would have been like to play for him?

IG: “I would have really enjoyed it. He has a great reputation in lacrosse as one of the best coaches in the game. Unfortunately for me, I decided to start my pro career a year earlier.”

TCSR: Did you ever think about staying at Denver?

IG: “Nope, my mind was made up. I was going to enter the draft.”

TCSR: Since Bill Tierney has taken over the program, have you talked to him?

IG: “No, I have not. I have talked to his son, Trevor, who is an assistant coach under his dad. They are doing a great job with the program. As an alumnus, I am proud that the Pioneers have been a success under coach Tierney.”

TCSR: Could you talk about being the second overall pick in the 2009 NLL draft by the Rochester Knighthawks?

IG: “This was a great achievement in my career. It also made myself live up to the high standards that comes with being drafted second overall. I also wanted to be in Denver, but was drafted by Rochester. Luckily, the two teams were able to work out a deal.”

TCSR: Could you talk about being traded to the Colorado Mammoth after being drafted?

IG: “I couldn’t live there. I wanted to live in Denver. Plus, the Mammoth front office wanted me in Denver, so I was lucky.”

TCSR: You were traded for Gavin Prout, who is now your teammate with the Mammoth. What is that like?

IG: “I have known Gavin for many years. It was a tough decision that the Mammoth had to make. We both didn’t want it to happen, but we both know this is a business. We are still friends after the trade. Personally, I think it helped the team out that he has been able to come back.”

TCSR: You were one of three brothers to play for the Mammoth, which is unheard of in sports. What was that like?

IG: “It was just one of those things. We all wanted to be here in Denver. Luckily, the Mammoth already had my brothers on the team when I arrived.”

TCSR: Your brother Nenad is with the Washington Stealth. Could you talk about being apart from each other in the same league?

IG: “It is definitely strange. We’ve always played together. ”

TCSR: When you play against your brother, it must be a weird feeling right after you to played together for so long?

IG: “It is definitely interesting. I want to go there with an edge. I want to beat his team.”

TCSR: Could you talk about how you are doing this season?

IG: “We’re working together to continue to improve. It all comes together in practice as we continue to prepare on a weekly basis. We have a lot of very talented players on this team. I believe we can go far into the playoffs and possibly win the championship.”

TCSR: One day you are going to have to retire from playing lacrosse. What would you like to do when that time comes?

IG: “I would like to coach or even manage a team. Being a college coach is hard. If I could, I would like to coach the indoor game and be a good coach. I would like to stay in Denver, but I know that I may not be able to do that, so I would be willing to coach anywhere. I can’t pick where I’m going to coach. I am going to have to just let the things play out.”

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Any Corrections?. You can contact Anthony Caruso III, Publisher at publisher@thecapitalsportsreport.com.

 

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