Eurobasket.com reporter had a pleasant conversation with Mr. Pavicevic few hours before the game against Buducnost in Bar . Mihajlo Pavicevic Pajo is one of the most experienced basketball coaches in Montenegro and probably the coach with biggest reputation who currently works in Montenegrin basketball. He shared with us a lot of interesting information and anectodes from his life and basketball career. Take a look!
I started playing basketball in the Gymnasium Hall in Bar and my first coach was professor Branka Korac. It has all started when one day two friends- Branislav Prentovic and Rade Radovic approached me during the break between classes and told me: We are going to tell you one thing but you will have to keep the secret, okey? This afternoon at 4 PM takes place first practice of Gimnazijalac basketball club. You are also invited. Take the ball with you. I could not not believe it, it was like a dream come true to me and I had never been previously in the new hall. At 4 PM our professor Branka Korac lined us up and said loudly: Everybody arrived? Is there anybody who did not get the invite? Branislav said: Yes, there is one? Who? Pajo Pavicevic! We called him because nobody else had the ball! At that point I had two options-to take the ball and go back home or to stay and prove to them that I deserve to stay. I opted for the latter option, and said: I think that I will be better than all of you. And it happened.. I became a basketball player.
Actually, basketball was not my first option. I like to play football and I was an excellent goalkeeper. I also loved athletics. When I was in high school I got an invitation to join the junior national team in track and field. Perhaps at that moment I chose the sport that I was less familiar with, especially because there was no basketball coach in Bar. I had to procure from abroad basketball litaterature and thats how I learned the basics of basketball. Today's generation will have hard time to believe that our geneation, for example, paved the ground in front of the Gymnasium in Bar. I had ruined a pair of shoes and jeans, but we did it with love. In this generation were brothers Borislav Vucevic (201-F-58) and Savo Vucevic , Brano Radovic, Nikica Kovacevic, then Dusko Pavlovic, my brother Djordje Pavicevic , Bobo Ljutica, Nebojsa Milosevic etc ... Basketball as a sport has grown in Bar and really we should be proud on ourself when we look back at the past. In the meantime, Bar made two NBA players and one player who was drafted (Mladen Sekularac (203-G/F-81)). This is probably the smallest town in the world with so many NBA players which is especially important if one consider that some American states failed to produce a single NBA players .. We must be proud on that.
During the 70s our games were the most important event in the town. When we entered the B league schools in Bar did not work, everybody came to see the game. When I realize now how much money the players earn all I can is to remember that we were getting peanuts although we were not worse or less talented than new generations. Our team could have played an important role in todays EBL for sure. Just to give you a little ovierview of the situation back then. I was the three time top scorer of former Yugoslavian B league. There were some very strong teams competing. I remember that I had season average of 30.4 points per game and a whopping 6.4 triples per game which is nowadays unthinkable. One more interesting thing is that I spent five New Year evenings in the high school gym, I trained in the dark.. It was an enthusiasm that is now rarely seen. Milka, the cleaning lady, told me when I graduated from high school: I am happy to see you leave for two reasons-the first one is your degree, of course, and the other one is obvious also-I will now finally be able to clean the whole gym in the morning and you will not be around to disturb me! I used to wake up at 6 AM and shoot the ball around before the classes. While she cleaned one part of the court I used the other one and we rotated when the other part got dry. I asked my players once: Is there anyone here who has his own ball?, Everyone watched around and no one had the ball. And its interesting to know that most of them live in hotel Sidro, next to the open courts. Then I asked: Do you use the open courts sometimes to shoot around'? Again there was no reply.
I must admit that I had to steal my first ball. It was not possible to get a ball at that time. A team from Kragujevac used to spend their summer vacations in Bar and we played basketball with them, but when they left we had no ball. So me and my friends agreed to steal the ball and we made a perfect plan. One of my friend accidentely kicked the ball in the meadows and I found it but of course I told them that the ball had been lost! However, we consumed a lot of balls and shoes because we played all day. Todays generations use to spend too much time chatting on facebook and playing video games while me and my friends used every single free minute to go to the playgrounds and play.
After the end of my playing days I decided to start coaching and I took coaching very seriously.. The offer that arrived in 1996 from Red Star Belgarde for me was not a surprise, although I somehow felt that it would be the wrong choice but at that time it was hard to refuse an offer from such a famous club. Before that I proved myself as a coach of the Junior National Team of Yugoslavia, and a team led by Igor Rakocevic (193-G-78) and Ratko Varda (216-C/F-79) and Vladimir Vidacic (207-C/F-78) won bronze medal at the 1996 European Championship in France. However, I accepted the offer and the first season was very problematic. Red Star brought 5 new players. There were young players such as Jovo Stanojevic (208-C-77, agency: Beo Basket), Dejan Miskovic (209-C-77), Zlatko Bolic (195-G-74, agency: Beo Basket) and on the other side experienced players in the twilight of their career- Nebojsa Ilic and Aleksandar Trifunovic (agency: Alti Sport ). There was a large gap between younger and older players and we failed to achieve good results as a team.
But next year the president listened to me, he brought me good players and we made a strong team. Before the season has asked me to tell him who would be a good addition to the team and help us to win the title. He said: Here's a paper and pen for you, you have two hours to make a championship team. First on the list was Milenko Topic (204-F-69), which was then in BFC Beocin. Probably not everybody know that Milenko had signed then a pre-contract with Partizan. The President asked for an explanation and I told him that after 1995, when Partizan took Dejan Tomasevic (208-F/C-73, agency: Beo Basket), Red Star was no longer a competitive team. Red Star needed somebody like Topic to recover and start a serious fight for the title. But Topic has been particularly effective in tandem with Zeljko Topalovic (209-C-72). The two of them were the best tandem in the YUBA League and I needed him also. The President listened to me and we brought both of them. We got also Vladimir Kuzmanovic (195-G-71, agency: Beo Basket) from Beocin, Oliver Popovic (200-G/F-70) and Vojkan Bencic (196-G-67) from Beobanka. Red Star had a big budget in that season so we made a very good team. But the overall situation in the club was very problematic because the two fractions were fighting for supremacy, and president and director of the club had poor communication. My biggest problem was the relationship with club management, how to make a balance between them. Basketball issues were the slightest problem at that time. I could not stand it and I left the club. In the play-offs they called me back at 1 AM to return to the bench. The players supported me and I accepted to return. It was a hard decision. In the meantime the club changed three coaches: Ranko Zeravica , Tom Ludwig , Vladislav Lucic . In the finals I was able to shake the team, and to get the maximum from each player. And we won the title.
But the president had too many advisors and we did not make a step up after the championship season. I asked him to keep the major players and try to bring only two players-Nikola Jestratijevic (212-C-76), center, and Sasa Obradovic (agency: Beo Basket ), or Vlado Scepanovic (198-G-75, agency: FCM) to fill in the guard position. Instead of them he brought me Rastko Cvetkovic (210-C-70) (who had a long break and was not in shape), Dragoljub Vidacic (189-G-70) and Stevan Pekovic (201-G-70, agency: Beo Basket). I told my late wife that it was time to change the club and I shared my thoughts with the president two months before the Euroleague game against Cibona. I told him: If I loose against Cibona I will leave the team. We played that game in front of empty stands, lost it and I left, just like I promised. I must admit that I am not very proud on this period in my career although it was pretty successfull. But I have never had a real chance in Red Star to apply my system.
Shortly thereafter I moved to Cyprus in Apoel and there I met a little funny situation. The first three weeks of training I had only seven players. If training starts at 7 AM they start gathering up 30 minutes later, depending on their jobs schedule etc. They promised me reinforcements, but I did not resist there more than one month and we decided to split ways. Simply, it was not the right situation for me at that moment. That season, in essence, was a one year break for me, although I had some offers but I am not someone who would easily take a team in middle of the season. I am used to choose players for the season and go through summer workouts with them .
In April of 2000 came an offer from Finland. I've never before heard of Finnish basketball but I was positively surprised by the quality of basketball and the beauty of that country. I have stayed there for 9 years and must say that this is one of the most beautiful periods in my life. Enough said. I won five titles and one cup, and an award for coach of the year. In that season I was the most successful coach of the year in all sports with the highest percentage of wins. The first three titles we won in a row and third one was my favorite because we won it with young Finnish players. I was very disappointed when I found out that a big club like Honka went bankrupt last year but thats how the thing work in Finland- If you have debts you go bankrupt, even though you have great tradition.
In addition to good team result, I think my greatest success is the creation of the Finnish Top player Petteri Koponen (194-G-88). This guy got a chance in the first team and I recognized his talent. But I had a lot of trouble to convince the authorities in Finland to give me a special permission to work with him individually. No one even mentioned leaving school! I had to wake up every morning very early, and go to his school where I did individual 2 hour work outs with him while the other kids did physical education classes. This was the only permit they gave me and I had to fight for it. However, I insisted and this guy got a chance in the first team as a starting guard because I said to the president that I would not need Americans to fill in that position. We opened the season with 0-3 record but I believed in him and he has justified the expectations and helped me and his young teammates to win the title. Petteri became the league MVP. After that, he was chosen in the first round of NBA draft and it is very rare to see a European point guard among first round picks ( The latest example is Ricky Rubio (192-G-90)). He will play probably next season in the NBA. When David Stern pulled out his name people started wondering who the hell is the coach of this boy because Americans have only heard of famous hockey players from Finland. It was a very emotional moment for me. The first Finnish player in the NBA was Hanno Mottola (209-F/C-76, college: Utah). However, he is an American pupil and he spent four years at University of Utah. Besides him, I also worked with about 80% players of Finnish NT players from the last European Championships in Lithuania. That's why I got an invitation to spend 2 years in the coaching staff of Portland Trailblazers for the summer league. It was a great experience, I met a lot of coaches and players. One the biggest honors in my career is that in those years an action named Pajo was written in Portlands playbook because I gave some ideas to the head coach Nate McMillan , and he accepted, and thus proved that in general he is not a vain man. In addition, I have to mention another anecdote that happened to me during my stay in Helsinki. We played against CSKA in the Baltic league and lost by half point and had the final shot to win the game. The game was played in Moskow and after the game my team manager approached me in the locker room and said: An older man is waiting you in the hall. He wants to meet you. I thought it must had been one of our compatriots who lived there and I told him that I would meet him in a minute or so. However, I continued talking to the players and about ten minutes passed before I left the locker room ... and I could not believe my eyes! The legendary Aleksander Gomelsky approached me and said: Congratulation Coach! Let me shake your hand. I have not seen a team play so fine for a long time! I was amazed but also ashamed because I left him to wait outside the door. This was perhaps the greatest compliment of my career.
I brought Akeem Scott (186-PG-83, agency: Interperformances, college: High Point) from Finnish 2nd league and together we have won a title with Honka. This year he is with me in Bar and it is easy to notice how much winning means to him. I will tell you a story about him. We went to play an away game, it was just cold but I told to my players that we would not take the bus. We walked together from the hotel to the gym. Akeem was the only one without a jacket. I asked him why he had not taken a jacket with him and he answered: Coach, you do not need to worry about that. Its nothing... It intrigued me and when we came to the gym I approched him: Hey Scott, what did you mean by that? How come there is no need to take a jacket'?! He answered: Well Coach.. when I was a child my father left me and my mom. Do you know how many nights me and my mom have spent outside on the cold like this? My mom had no money so we had to sleep under a bridge. I almost cried, and since then I respect him greatly as a player and as a man. He is a player who plays with heart. And I sometimes shout at him when he makes a mistake but I know that he is always going to give 100%. Thats Akeem. On the other side, a lot of our players lack the will and fighting spirit. Actually. they just do not care about winning. As soon as a team like Mornar express interested in a player, agents and counselors surround that player, parents start seeking big money, etc.. For example at Connecticut there are no therapist at the team practices. If you are hurt no one pays attention to you, the coach does not stop the game. I have to tell another anecdote, I watched one practice where Richard Hamilton (199-G-78, college: Connecticut) ended up the game on one leg. But he finished the practice anyway. I was wondering and I asked coach Jim Calhoun why he had not pulled him earlier. He is your leader- I added. Calhoun replied: Thats the reason why I kept him on the floor.. Do I have to build the team around a player who would leave a practice because of a non serious injury?. Thats the fighting spirit they have.. Our players in most cases do not have that kind of spirit and love for the game. Just because they do not feel that basketball is a struggle for existence, but think that God-given talent is just enough, most of them fail to make a career. American players fight more because they do not just play basketball, they earn money for the whole family. Great players are born in this way .. One more thing- four of my players are coaches in NCAA leagues. This is a proof that I always choose good men, not only good players.
They say that with my arrival the perception of basketball in Finland has changed. Before me there were mainly Americans coaches and run&gun basketball style. I also love to see fast, organized basketball but fast, not wild. There is a very thin line between these two philosophies. In addition, they are very cultured people, so there is no need to yell. Only after 2 or 3 seasons there I started yelling at them and they somehow liked it because they knew me well. I am sure that 90% of coaches with our approach would get fired there after a couple of games.
After Koponen left us I lost motivation. I had a valid contract with Honka but I did not want to work at 50% of my ability and take money for nothing. I told the president that I was going to return to my home country. Mornar was a perfect opportunity because I missed my daughters very much and they missed me. I was also attracted by the KK Mornar project, led by my brother and Aco Mijailovic from BEMAX. The aim was to promote young players regardless of good or bad results. I finished my first year at Mornar without any compensation because all I wanted to do was to help my brother in working with young players. Among them was Nikola Ivanovic (187-G-94, agency: Beo Basket) who is really a great talent and I want to point out that my brother is objectively most responsible for his development. He gave him a chance in the cadet national team and later in Mornar where he was the starting point guard at the age of 16. He shined many times this season in Buducnost and I have no doubt that a great career is ahead of him. Montenegro has gotten a point guard for the next 10-15 years. Last summer, after the end of U16 National Teams Championship, I felt that my brother had been very consumed by too many duties he had and I decided to replace him on Mornar's bench. But be sure that my brother will return next season and will continue where he left off last season.
This season we have been dominant in the regular season. We had two defeats which are the consequence of my experimentations and I admit that. Our goal was to make it to the Final Four tournament of Balkan league but we failed and that still hurts. But I must stress that this is also the result of wrong decisions made by the League comissioner who imposed inhumane schedule to us. I wonder who in the world must play 4 games in 6 days?! Even the NBA players do not have that type of schedule.. Fatigue distroyed us and the defeat against Feni Industries is just a logical consequence.
However, I must point out for the end the biggest problem of Montenegrin basketball. The problem is called Educational Neglect. I can not understand parents who, because of a possible basketball career fail to explain to their children the importance of school and education. In the last ten years only Nikola Vucevic (208-F-90, college: USC) and Nikola Mirotic (207-F/C-91) became world class players. My question is- where are the others? All have become average players or do not play basketball any more. This must be taken into account
Buducnost got back the lead in the finals series (2-1) after the big win in Podgorica (80-69). The game was tied in the first quarter but then in the second quarter Buducnost showed its class and got a nice lead at the halftime (+9). The rest of the game was just a formality because Mornar did not have the strength to bounce back and threaten Buducnost. Even six players scored in double figures for Buducnost. Nemanja Gordic (193-PG-88) had 18 points and 7 assists while Aleksa Ilic (205-F-... [read more]
Buducnost got back the lead in the finals series (2-1) after the big win in Podgorica (80-69). The game was tied in the first quarter but then in the second quarter Buducnost showed its class and got a nice lead at the halftime (+9). The rest of the game was just a formality because Mornar did not have the strength to bounce back and threaten Buducnost. Even six players scored in double figures for Buducnost. Nemanja Gordic (193-PG-88) had 18 points and 7 assists while Aleksa Ilic (205-F-96, agency: BeoBasket) had another double double (14 points and 14 rebounds).On the other side only Octavius Ellis (208-C-93, college: Cincinnati) played according to his standards. He scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds.
The next game will be played in Bar on Sunday and it may be the final one if Buducnost wins.
Milko Bjelica selected the top Montenegrin playing abroad in last week's games - 2 days ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Montenegrins who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is an experienced former international power forward Milko Bjelica (207-84, agency: BeoBasket). He led Crvena Zvezda to a victory over the league outsider Spartak in the Serbian KLS in Friday night's game.
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Montenegrins who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is an experienced former international power forward Milko Bjelica (207-84, agency: BeoBasket, currently plays in Serbia). He led Crvena Zvezda to a victory over the league outsider Spartak (0-2) crushing them 89-54 in the Serbian KLS in Friday night's game.
Bjelica was MVP of the game. He recorded 21 points in a mere 18 minutes on the court.
Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (2-0) is placed first in the KLS.
But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.
Bjelica has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 16.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 2FGP: 84.6%, 3FGP: 66.7% and FT: 71.4% in two games he played so far.
Bjelica has a dual citizenship: Montenegrin and Serbian.
He played for the Montenegrin senior national team three years ago.
#2. Second place goes to former international point guard Tyrese Rice (185-87, college: Boston Coll., currently plays in Spain). Rice was the major contributor in a FC Barcelona's victory against the closely-ranked Unicaja Malaga (18-10) 89-70 in the Spanish Liga Endesa last Sunday.
He scored 17 points and added 3 passes.
FC Barcelona Lassa (19-9) is placed fifth in the Liga Endesa.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
It's Rice's first season with the team.
Rice has relatively good stats this year: 12.1ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.4apg, 2FGP: 51.2%, 3FGP: 31.0%.
He is a naturalized American.
Rice played for the Montenegrin national team in 2014.
Strangely he has never played in Montenegro.
#3. The Montenegrin player who performed third best last week abroad was an international forward Marko Todorovic (209-92, currently plays in VTB United League). Todorovic contributed to an easy victory against the sixth-ranked Enisey (13-11) crushing them 104-64 in the VTB United League on Sunday night.
He scored 15 points, had 6 rebounds and made 3 blocks in 23 minutes.
BC Khimki Moscow Region (19-5) is placed third in group A.
There are only three games left until the end of the VTB United League Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
This year Todorovic has relatively solid stats: 10.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 70.5%(93-132) and FT: 56.2% in 23 games.
He is also a member of the Montenegrin senior national team.
#4. Power forward Bojan Dubljevic (205-91, also represented by BeoBasket, currently plays in Spain) contributed to a Valencia Basket's victory against one of league's weakest teams Sevilla (8-20) 90-85 in the Spanish Liga Endesa in Saturday night's game.
Dubljevic scored 7 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Valencia Basket (21-7) is placed first in the Liga Endesa.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
Dubljevic is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his fourth year in Valencia Basket's roster.
He has reliable stats this season: 12.3ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.9apg.
Dubljevic is also Montenegrin national team player.
#5. International power forward Nemanja Djurisic (203-92, college: Georgia, currently plays in Poland) could not help Stelmet (23-8) in their last game. Despite his very good performance Stelmet lost 85-90 on the road to the lower-ranked (#3) BM Slam Stal.
Djurisic was the top scorer with 18 points in 27 minutes; quite an impressive performance considering it's only his second season in pro basketball. Djurisic's team will play only one more game in the Regular Season. And now that game is quite important.
Djurisic's stats this year are: 11.4ppg and 4.8rpg in 26 games.
He plays currently for the Montenegrin national team.
#6. Swingman Nikola Zizic (197-94, currently plays in Serbia) helped FMP win their game against the closely-ranked Mega Leks (1-1) crushing them 90-70 in the Serbian KLS on Sunday night.
Zizic recorded 13 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. FMP Beograd (2-0) is placed second in the KLS.
But the season just started, so everything may happen.
Zizic's overall stats this year are: 9.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.5apg and 1.5spg.
He is a former international player as he played for the Montenegrin senior team two years ago.
#7. Former University international center Mihailo Sekulovic (206-91, currently plays in Bulgaria) was not able to help one of league's weakest teams Balkan (14-10) in their last game. Despite Sekulovic's very good performance Balkan was edged 81-79 in Samokov by the higher-ranked (#4) Rilski.
He was the top scorer with 23 points. Sekulovic also added 8 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Sekulovic has very impressive stats this year: 17.1ppg, 9.2rpg and 2.1apg in 25 games.
He used to play for the Montenegrin university national team
two years ago.
#8. Forward Halil Kanacevic (203-91, college: St.Joseph's, currently plays in Israel) was not able to secure a victory for Bnei Hasharon (16-13) in their last game on Thursday. Despite Kanacevic's good performance Bnei Hasharon was defeated 79-71 in Eilat by the leading Hapoel.
He was the second best scorer with 13 points. Kanacevic also added 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season.
Kanacevic's overall stats this season are: 7.8ppg, 5.3rpg and 2.7apg.
He is a naturalized American.
Kanacevic used to play for the Montenegrin U20 national team
back in 2011. Apparently he has never played in Montenegro.
#9. Former international power forward Radosav Spasojevic (204-92, another player represented by BeoBasket, currently plays in Serbia) helped Mega Leks edge the closely-ranked Borac (1-1) 77-75 in the Serbian KLS last Wednesday.
He scored 13 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 29 minutes.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. BC Mega Leks (1-1) is placed fourth in the KLS.
But the season is still in it's first stage and everything can happen.
This year Spasojevic's overall stats are: 8.5ppg and 2.5rpg in two games.
He used to play for the Montenegrin national team
two years ago.
#10. Power forward Vladimir Dragicevic (206-86, currently plays in Poland) is a teammate of previously mentioned Nemanja Djurisic and both played together in the last Polish PLK game.
Dragicevic couldn't help Stelmet (23-8) in their last game on Saturday. Despite his good performance Stelmet was defeated 90-85 in Ostrow Wlkp. by the lower-ranked BM Slam Stal (#3).
Dragicevic scored 10 points.
Dragicevic averaged so far 12.3ppg, 5.9rpg and 1.3apg.
He is a former international player as three years ago he still played for the Montenegrin senior national team.
#11. Former U18 international guard Amin Hott (192-92, currently plays in Bulgaria) is a teammate of previously mentioned Mihailo Sekulovic. But that was another game of his team in Bulgarian NBL which we would like to mention.
Hott helped Balkan win their game against the closely-ranked Beroe 79-64.
He scored 11 points, had 6 rebounds and dished 8 assists in 37 minutes.
Hott averaged so far 11.9ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.6apg and 1.6spg in 25 games.
He used to play for the Montenegrin U18 national team
seven years ago.
#12. Former international point guard Taylor Rochestie (185-85, college: Washington St., currently plays in VTB United League) helped his Russian team Lokomotiv win their game against the 12th-ranked Tsmoki-Minsk 81-72 in the VTB United League last Sunday.
Rochestie scored 8 points and added 4 passes.
Rochestie averaged so far 11.2ppg, 1.8rpg and 4.1apg.
He is a naturalized American.
Rochestie used to play for the Montenegrin national team
back in 2014. Interesting that he has never played in Montenegro.
#13. Former international shooting guard Ivan Jelenic (192-85, currently plays in Serbia) couldn't help Spartak in their game against Dynamic BG in the Serbian KLS, despite his very good performance on Wednesday night.
Jelenic scored 13 points and added 3 passes in 27 minutes.
But his team was badly defeated by 17 points 92-75.
Jelenic averaged so far 11.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg and 1.7spg in six games.
He used to play for the Montenegrin national team
five years ago.
#14. Former U21 international point guard Goran Martinic (187-87, currently plays in Romania) couldn't help Targu Mures in their game against CSU Sibiu in the Romanian Liga Nationala. Despite his very good performance in Tuesday night's game Martinic was the top scorer with 25 points. He also added made 3 passes and 3 steals.
This season Martinic has very high stats. He averages: 18.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 7.1apg and 2.1spg.
Martinic used to play for the Montenegrin U21 national team
back in 2007.
#15. International point guard Nikola Ivanovic (190-94, currently plays in Italy) couldn't help Betaland Cdo in their game against Scandone AV in the Italian Serie A, despite his good performance last Sunday.
He recorded 10 points and added 3 passes in 33 minutes.
But his team lost 68-76.
Ivanovic averaged so far 12.1ppg, 2.8rpg and 2.8apg in 13 games.
He is also in the roster of the Montenegrin national team.
The list of other players, who all have Montenegrin passport but never been selected to any of Montenegrin national teams:
#1.Nikola Mirotic (207-F/C-91, currently plays in NBA) could not help the Chicago Bulls (41-41) in their last game. Despite Mirotic's good performance the Chicago Bulls (41-41) lost 95-104 on the road to the Boston Celtics.
He was the second best scorer with 13 points. Mirotic also added 7 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Mirotic averaged so far 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg and 1.1apg in 75 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Montenegrin and Spanish.
#2.Stevan Milosevic (211-C-85, agency: Interperformances, currently plays in Slovenia) led Un.Olimpija to a 1-point victory against the fourth-ranked Zlatorog (4-5) 88-87 in the Slovenian Liga Nova KBM in Wednesday night's game.
Milosevic scored 14 points and blocked 4 blocks.
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (4-5) is placed third in Places 1-6 group.
His team will play only one more game in the Second Stage.
Milosevic's overall stats this season are: 5.7ppg, 4.1rpg and 1.1apg.
#3.Mensud Julevic (200-PF-85, currently plays in Slovenia) was the major contributor in a Terme Olimia's victory against the fifth-ranked LTH Castings (5-14) crushing them 82-52 in the Slovenian Liga Nova KBM in Wednesday night's game.
Julevic scored 15 points, had 7 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 26 minutes.
Terme Olimia Podcetrtek (10-9) is placed fourth in Places 7-12 group.
His team will play only one more game in the Second Stage.
Julevic averaged so far 11.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.5apg and 1.3spg in 31 games.
He is another player who holds two passports: Montenegrin and Slovenian.
Despite Julevic's Montenegrin nationality, he previously played for the Slovenian U21 national team and is probably not eligible to play for the Montenegrin team.
#4.Nikola Dragovic (206-F-87, agency: BeoBasket, college: UCLA, currently plays in France) managed to help ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket to win against the league outsider Sluc Nancy (7-22) 85-77 in the French ProA in Tuesday night's game.
Dragovic scored 5 points.
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (15-14) is placed ninth in the ProA.
Dragovic's total stats this season are: 7.9ppg, 4.3rpg and 1.1apg.
He has both Serbian and Montenegrin nationalities.
#5. Experienced Boris Lalovic (207-C-81, currently plays in Romania) led CSU Sibiu to a 2-point victory against the leader Targu Mures (12-12) 89-87 in the Romanian Liga Nationala last Thursday.
Lalovic scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds (went 8 for 8 at the free throw line).
It was the game of the round between two top 3 ranked teams in group Places 1-6. CSU Atlassib Sibiu (18-10) is placed second.
Lalovic averaged so far 10.6ppg, 3.6rpg and 1.3apg.
#6.Nemanja Calasan (204-C-85, agency: HMS, college: Purdue, currently plays in Switzerland) led Boncourt to a victory over the fourth-ranked Massagno 90-75 in the Swiss LNA on Saturday night.
He was the best player in that game. Calasan recorded a double-double by scoring 17 points and getting 18 rebounds. He also added 3 assists.
Calasan averaged so far 13.4ppg, 12.5rpg and 2.0apg.
He also holds two passports: Serbian and Montenegrin.
#7.Vladimir Tomasevic (201-F-92, currently plays in Spain) was not able to help Gandia (8-22) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Tomasevic's very good performance the bottom-ranked Gandia was crushed 82-59 in Amorebieta-Echano by the much higher-ranked Zornotza (#6).
He was the top scorer with 22 points. Tomasevic also added 7 rebounds (went 5 for 5 at the free throw line).
Tomasevic averaged so far 10.7ppg and 4.3rpg.
#8.Brion Rush (186-PG-84, agency: Three Eye Sports, college: Grambling St., currently plays in France) faced previously mentioned Nikola Dragovic in the French ProA last game.
Rush was not able to secure a victory for Sluc Nancy in their game against ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket.
He scored 5 points.
His team was defeated 85-77.
Rush has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages: 15.3ppg, 3.3rpg and 3.9apg.
Rush is a naturalized American.
He used to play for KK Sutjeska Niksic in Montenegrin league.
#9.Mikaile Tmusic (188-G-93, currently plays in Kosovo) contributed to Bashkimi's victory against the closely-ranked Peja 92-81 in the Kosovan SuperLeague on Wednesday night.
Tmusic recorded 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in only 14 minutes.
This year Tmusic's total stats are: 9.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.8apg and 1.2spg in 24 games.
He has Montenegrin and Kosovan nationalities.
#10.Nikola Rakocevic (191-G-91, agency: Dynamics Global Management, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help Caceres Basket (13-20) in their last game on Friday. Despite Rakocevic's good performance Caceres Basket was defeated 79-71 on the opponent's court by the higher-ranked Burgos (#10).
He scored 10 points and added 4 assists.
This season Rakocevic has very high stats. He averages: 15.1ppg, 2.2rpg and 2.0apg.
Everybody expected an interesting series between two old rivals and here it is. Buducnost and Mornar are tied at 1-1 after the last night's win of Mornar in Bar (73-62). Mornar started the game great and the result after first quarter says it all (21-8). Buducnost cut the deficit in the second quarter but Mornar still had the lead and kept it until the end without struggling to much against the powerhouse from Podgorica. Antabia Waller (191-G-88, college: Auburn) had a great shooting nigh... [read more]
Everybody expected an interesting series between two old rivals and here it is. Buducnost and Mornar are tied at 1-1 after the last night's win of Mornar in Bar (73-62). Mornar started the game great and the result after first quarter says it all (21-8). Buducnost cut the deficit in the second quarter but Mornar still had the lead and kept it until the end without struggling to much against the powerhouse from Podgorica. Antabia Waller (191-G-88, college: Auburn) had a great shooting night and scored 22 points for the winners. He was followed by his fellow Americans- Octavius Ellis (208-C-93, college: Cincinnati) and Lamont Jones (183-PG-90, college: Iona, agency: Stanislav Ryzhov) who scored 16 points each. On the other side only J.R. Reynolds (188-G-84, college: Virginia, agency: Inception Sports), who scored 13 points, played according to his standards. Other Buducnost players will need to play much better in the next game on Thursday in Podgorica if they want to keep the title at home.
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