Another very successful basketball year for Mega is behind us, and as such, it certainly deserves to be reminded of everything that was done in the previous period. As was the case before, this year’s final of the season for Mega Basket was the NBA draft, in which Filip Petrusev became the 13th player in the history of the club to be selected in the NBA draft.

Accordingly, the General Manager of Mega Basket, Goran Cakic pointed out that the club is very optimistic about the future:

– We were in a specific situation this year, after a long time after the change in the head of the coaching staff. But, to our great satisfaction, that transition passed imperceptibly, even though we were again the youngest team in the region. We continued with our policy of developing young players, but at the same time we were extremely competitive. Until the finish of the ABA league, we were in the race for a place in the playoffs, and we played in the finals of both domestic competitions. We affirmed one member of the national team, Filip Petrusev, who will be the backbone of the national team in the long run, and we again had players in the NBA draft, Simonovic at the beginning of the season and Petrusev at the end – Cakic paused and then added:

– We can look to the future with great optimism, because the successes of the younger categories give us security. Also, guys like Nikola Jovic and Nikola Djurisic have shown huge potential and our task will be to fully affirm them in the senior competition. And finally. I can’t help but mention the great individual recognitions of Nikola Jokic and Vasa Micic, which made us all very happy in the club. These are our children, the connections are more than friendly, so we experience their successes as our own, we rejoice in them and make us proud – stated Cakic and in the end said:

– Everything will be completed this summer with a new visit to the Bahamas, where we will again have the opportunity to compete with some of the best American universities. This is just another in a series of confirmations of our quality work with young people, but also that all this is recognized in the cradle of basketball, which is certainly the biggest reward for us – concluded Cakic.

In accordance with 12 months, we divided the main impressions in Mega’s basketball year into the same number of parts.

So let’s start with the recollection.

1. Vladimir Jovanovic is a new Head coach of Mega!

Last June, the era of Dejan Milojevic in Mega officially ended, after he was replaced by Vladimir Jovanovic after eight years on the bench (and two more before that as General Manager). In addition to the new coach of Mega, Dejan Milojevic also attended the signing of the contract in the Mega Factory hall. .

– My beginning as a coach was related to working with young players. Later, I affirmed myself in working with young people through national teams actions, and Mega has been known for a decade and more for promoting very young players who later play very notable roles in big teams and who reach the NBA league. According to what I did, what I was educated for, the way I saw basketball, this is practically an opportunity where we are all on the same wavelength – said Jovanovic at the promotion and he was completely right.

2. Magnificent farewell with “Deki Ciao”!

However, Mega did not remain indebted to Dejan Milojevic, so on June 11, she organized a magnificent farewell “Deki Ciao” exhibition match, which was played between the teams of Mega and “Deki Ciao” composed of his former players. The match was attended by Nikola Jokic, Novak Djokovic, as well as numerous big names from the world of basketball, with an appropriate short film in which his former players talked about working with him.

I absolutely enjoyed it, I am proud and honored … No coach has ever been sent off in this way, they usually leave clubs differently. A very emotional evening for me. Thanks to all the people and associates who were with me, because I could not achieve anything alone. Through all these years, a lot of quality people have passed through the club, and I know that many will stay. It was my pleasure – Milojevic said at his farewell to Mega.

3. Filip Petruhev – arrival to Mega that caused earthquakes on both sides of the Atlantic!

In mid-July, Mega caused an earthquake in the basketball world, and not only on this side of the Atlantic, as Mega’s new player became Filip Petrusev, who arrived at the club from Gonzaga, one of the main favorites to win the NCAA. Already at the beginning of the season, it turned out that it was a great move for both sides, and during the year, it was only confirmed on several occasions. Summary: a great basketball year for Mega, three awards in the ABA league for Philip, he was named MVP of the player, the best scorer and the best young player of the regional competition, and finally, the selection in the NBA draft. He made great individual progress in all segments of the game with an excellent debut in the A team of Serbia

4. Simonovic – 44th pick – Chicago Bulls!

After the continuation of excellent players in the ABA league (in the 2019/20 season, at the time of the break, he was 3rd on the MVP list), Marko Simonovic was selected as the 44th pick in the NBA draft held on the night between November 18 and 19 by the Chicago Bulls, making him the 12th player in Mega history (and 11th since 2014) to be selected in the NBA Draft. In addition to the fact that he is the only team outside the territory of the USA that had three players in one NBA draft on three occasions, Mega is on its way to becoming a club outside the territory of the USA with the most selected players in NBA drafts.

– I believed that by coming to Mega, my dream of the NBA league would be closer to coming true. That is exactly what happened, and that is why I owe a great deal of gratitude to all the people who helped me a lot and provided me with excellent conditions to improve my game. My choice in the draft is another confirmation of the quality of work with young players in Mega – Simonovic stated on the night when he was drafted by Chicago.

5. Great end of 2020 in Zeleznik

Great first part of the season in the regional competition for Mega, which entered 2021 with a score of 9-3. An incredible turnaround in the last game in 2020, which was played in Zeleznik, contributed to that. Against FMP, Mega twice managed to return from seemingly hopeless situations, from minus 10 with less than three minutes until the end of the regular 40 minutes, and then with minus nine during overtime, when in the very finish Petrusev’s triple off the board decided the question of the winner. In that way, the atmosphere before the traditional Mega’s New Year’s game that followed was not spoiled.

6. Fifth Cup Radivoj Korac final for Mega

In her fourth final of the Radivoj Korac Cup, which was held in Novi Sad, Mega fought for her second trophy in the club’s history, after the one won in 2016 in Nis. Mladost from Zemun and Vojvodina fell in a row, and after the first half, Mega had an advantage against Crvena zvezda in the final. However, in the continuation of the match, Mega stopped in offence, the lack of experience came to the fore, so in the end, the trophy did not end up in Mega’s showcases.

photo: KSS/Nebojsa Parausic

7. Three big ABA awards for Filip Petrusev

In April, three big awards arrived for Filip Petrusev, who was chosen as the most useful player in the ABA league in the 2020/21 season, as he had the highest percentage (58%) of combined votes of ABA league coaches, journalists and fans, where coaches participated with 50%, the votes of journalists with 30% and fans with 20%. The young center of Mega averaged 23.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 31.5 minutes per game for an average of 28 index points per game. He was convincingly the best player in the regional competition, while Marko Simonovic is in second place with 19.2 index points per match.

In addition to the MVP award, the young center of Mega was also named the best scorer in the league with the already mentioned 23.7 points per match, as much as 6.5 points more than his closest companion Jake Blazic, where he never went below 16 points during the season and broke the league record with as many as 12 consecutive matches in which he scored 20 or more points.

In addition to the already mentioned recognitions, Petrusev was also chosen as the biggest prospect of the ABA league, where he achieved a convincing victory in the voting of coaches, journalists and fans with as many as 66.5 percent of votes.

– Thanks to Mega who believed in me and who once again showed that she is the best club in Europe for working with young players and all this is just a confirmation that I made the best decision in my career so far when I decided to move to Mega last summer – Petrusev said then.

8. Mega’s kid Vasilije Micic is the MVP of the Euroleague!

At the end of May, former Mega player Vasilije Micic was chosen as the MVP of the Euroleague, and soon after, with Efes, he won the best European club competition and was named the best player of the Final Four. He made his first steps in senior basketball at Mega, where he spent four years, from 2010 to 2014, when he was selected as the 52nd pick in the NBA Draft by Philadelphia, in the first of three NBA drafts in which three Mega players were selected. We are still very proud of Vasa, especially due to the fact that he never forgot where he came from.

9. Two titles and great games of juniors Mega at the F8 tournament of the junior Euroleague in Valencia

Mega’s juniors had a wonderful season behind them, and they lacked a bit of sports luck to finish it with the European crown. At the end of March, the qualifying tournament of the junior Euroleague and Zeleznik was first won, when the juniors of Mega returned from minus 19 at the beginning of the third quarter and finally came to a great triumph over the Crvena zvezda.

With only two defeats in the entire season and dominant games at the Final Tournament of the Serbian Junior League in Uzice, the first Serbian champion title in the club’s history was won.

Only two weeks later in Cajetina, coach Dragoljub Avramovic’s team won the second trophy in the ABA junior league, after a great match against the Buducnost team in the final.

The final tournament of the junior Euroleague in Valencia followed, where the juniors of Mega, after two convincing victories in the group, lost the advantage in the finish of the game against Barcelona, ​​and then missed two shots for overtime, so they were left without the European crown. However, this generation of juniors also promoted some new names, among which everyone especially remembered two: Nikola Jovic and Nikola Djurisic.

10. Nikola Jokic is the MVP of the NBA league!

The moment when Nikola Jokic was proclaimed the MVP of the NBA League was the greatest recognition for a player in the history of basketball in this area. And when it is added that in the same season, two former players of Mega, Jokic and Micic, were chosen as the best players in the two strongest competitions in the world, Mega thus proved once again that it is the  unique club on the planet.

Nikola stepped into senior basketball in the Mega’s jersey with which he played two cup finals and won the MVP award in the ABA league. From Mega, he continued his journey to the NBA league, when after a little more than two and a half years at the club, he transferred to the Denver Nuggets. His NBA league records are constantly being talked about, and we can only point out:

“World, but ours! Unique Joker – Nikola Jokic”.

11. Historic first Super League final for Mega

The end of the season also brought competition in the playoffs of the Super League, where Mega achieved a place in the finals for the first time in the club’s history, as it was better than Partizan 2-1 in the semifinal series. In the final, a great fight was seen against Crvena zvezda, which in the end triumphed in the third game that was played in the “Aleksandar Nikolic” hall, but everyone who had Mega in their hearts could be proud of the fight that Mega provided.

After the final series, Mega’s coach Vladimir Jovanovic pointed out that he was proud of the guys who played in Mega that season:

“We started in the second half of July and that’s why I have to be proud of the guys who played in Mega this year. For that reason, I would not talk about missed opportunities, but about used chances. Entering the finals against Zvezda is a big thing for our club and for these young guys who have yet to appear on the big stage. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all my coaching staff, players, all the people who work in the Mega’s system and who live for this club. We affirmed some young players, were active as a result, played the finals of the Cup and the finals of the Super League, were close to the playoffs in the regional competition. All in all, a very good season for us”.

12. Filip Petrusev became the 13th player in Mega’s history to be selected in the NBA Draft

Mega’s final of the season is traditionally the NBA draft, so it was the same this year when Filip Petrusev was chosen as the 50th pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. With this election, Petrusev became the 13th player of Mega to be selected in the NBA draft, ie the 12th player since 2014, and according to that second criterion, Mega is at the very top of the world, including NCAA teams, and certainly ahead of all clubs outside the US. Filip Petrusev was the only basketball player from the ABA league who was selected in this year’s draft.

The curtain was lowered on one of the most successful seasons in Mega’s history, but that only marked the beginning of preparations for the next one. Mega has a clearly defined path, a precisely arranged system from which it will not deviate, because it has brought extraordinary results in the past years. When the extremely professional coaching staff and top training conditions are added to all that, there is no doubt that Mega is ready to start new victories and continue to reap the fruits of our hard work.

Photo: Mega Basket