By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer
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.
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 to practice 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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