LITTLE BIG CLUB. Mega Basket rightly bears this epithet, and with only three words in the right way describe the essence of this basketball team. Compared with the clubs rich tradition that created basketball history in this area, Mega is a small club. But considering all that has been done in the past, the rise of the club to his score and organizational terms, as well as players who grew up in the club and performances of Mega players reached the status of national team players and the NBA, Mega their own way represents basketball size of the entire region.
Start of this basketball story is somewhat amazing, because it contains elements such as cardboard packaging factory, which can hardly at first to be brought in connection with basketball, and enthusiasts who are at times brutal professionalism in sport considered quite an endangered species.
However, the idea that one factory in Serbia establish it’s basketball team occurred in 1995. The basketball section of enterprises engaged in the production of cardboard packaging Avala Ada was a regular participant in workers’ sports games that once had a great popularity. The basketball tournament among firms of similar production’s plant gathered often more than 16 teams, and Avala Ada has always had outstanding results and regularly ended competition among the three best teams. However, when in 1998 in Workers’ sports games on Divcibare again realized significant result a group of enthusiasts and lovers of big game under the hoop, they decided to form a club. In support of this decision, there has been the fact that the factory was financially well off, that could sponsorship to cover the costs of the basketball project, and that the leadership of the club were all people who were employed in various positions at the factory.
Thus, on 23th of December 1998 was originated Basketball Club Avala Ada. The coach was Misha Perisic, Rade Orlovic assisted him, several players were from the ranks of employees in the factory, among them the first team captain, Bratislav Gajic, commercial director of the factory. Team was chaired by Veljko Grujic and sporting director was Velimir Mihajlovic who for all these years has remained at the club, and currently holds the position of president.
Preparations for the start of the “Concrete” league were launched in early 1999. The team trained at the elementary school “Stari grad” and right at the start achieved convincing success by winning first place and qualified for the second Serbian league. For the new gateway to higher competition was required in only one season, and better points difference decided that Avala Ada won placement in the first Serbian league.
Two years Avala Ada was trying to get hold of the, then federal level competitions (Pro B league), and in that intention has succeeded on the second try. In qualifying for a place in the First B league, Avala Ada has triumphed in competition over Vrbas and Montenegrin Zeta.
In his debut season in the second division (2003/2004) Avala Ada had narrowly escaped placement in the First Division, as it came in third place, but it was a great impetus to the announcement that the club in the coming years will continue to grow.
A key factor for the further development of the club, which will in later years to be recognized for it’s fantastic work with young players, was a strategic partnership which was concluded between the factory Avala Ada and agency Beobasket. In the new organizational structure of Avala Ada was giving all the necessary technical support, while Beobasket organized sports part.
And in 2004 formed a very young team, where are the backbone of members from the younger national teams Marko Keselj, Nikola Dragovic, Branislav Ratkovica who have forged with hardened aces like Sladjan Stojkovic and Aleksandar Cubrilo.
Yet one name from this band in the season 2004/2005 in particular catches the eye – Nikola Pekovic. Powerful center a year played in Avala Ada on loan from the team of Atlas, which then competed in the first division. Pekovic ihen performed admirably Avala Ada got the opportunity to gain much needed experience and further his basketball road is well-known.
Top conceived concept at the start gave an excellent result and is Avala Ada in the first season managed to qualify in the First Division from second place.
Change of the name of the club came in the 2005/2006 season. On a half-season the club was renamed KK Mega Basket. Shortly afterwards signed a sponsorship agreement with the bakery industry Ishrana from Smederevo and the team wore the name Mega Ishrana.
How were changing sponsors, so was changing the name of the club – Mega Aqua Monta, Mega Hypo Leasing, and what didn’t changed was a constant of a remarkable work of generations of young and talented players. Having qualified for the Super League of Serbia in the 2006/2007 season, Mega Aqua Monta made a great success, which was updated two years later. Titled Mega Hypo Leasing team in the 2008/2009 season for the first time emerged on the international scene by participating in regional Balkan league. They qualified for the Final Four, the final tournament in the Bulgarian town of Samokov and won the third place.
Another step up in the club development was the business and technical cooperation with Vizura who in the whole project came with an enviable infrastructure, and Mega Basket with playing squad. Matches were played in the hall Vizura in Zemun, and Mega Vizura has become a regular participant in Serbian SuperLeague.
Completely new energy to the club with his work brought a new coach Dejan Milojevic. Former national team member who with our selection won a gold medal at the European Championships in Turkey in 2001 and once outstanding basketball player, in the right way used the indication of a chance from the start and began to show constant great coaching talent.
This is corroborated by the fact that under his leadership in the 2012/2013 season Mega Vizura managed to gain a place in the play-off and the third position which has ensured a place in the regional ABA league. In the semifinal series of the playoffs Mega was defeated by Crvena zvezda Telekom with 2/1, but the records that same year was the Most Valuable Player – Boban Marjanovic, another future NBA player.
Milojevic led in 2014. Mega Vizura for the first time in it’s history came to the opportunity to fight for a trophy. At the final tournament of the Radivoje Korac Cup in Belgrade, Mega Vizura played in the finals. For opponents had Crvena zvezda Telekoand had a shot to win, but Nikola Jokic, who will a year and a half later become the first player to go directly from Mega to NBA, was inaccurate. Mega was defeated with the result 81:80. And a year later, Mega is in the final fight for the trophy against Zvezdam but this time in Nis. Again the chosen players of coach Dejan Milojevic were close, but their happiness was in the finish again turned back.
The fact that for the club played renowned players, Nikola Pekovic, Boban Marjanovic, Novica Velickovic, Ratko Varda, Nikola Jokic, Marko Keselj, Nemanja Dangubic, Vasilije Micic, Jovo Stanojevic, Branko Milisavljevic, Sladjan Stojkovic and many others, are proof that the concept is designed and a system that is made has a certificate of quality.
In November 2014, Leks Group became the General Sponsor of Mega, who later until the end of season 2016/17 ompeted under the name of Mega Leks.
Mega is undoubtedly different in many respects from the other teams and not only at the original color shirts on which has become famous throughout the world. Mega is the first club in this region that their matches played at noon on the model of Spain ACB league teams. Their matches in SuperLeague Serbia and ABA league as the host played in several towns in Serbia (Krusevac, Smederevo, Sremska Mitrovica) and in this way to popularize basketball. Mega has it\s own mascot and season 2015/2016 by far the youngest team of the ABA league with an average of 19.6 years.
Season 2015/16 was the most successful in the club’s history. First trophy was won – Radivoj Korac Cup. In the final, which was played on 21st of February 2016 in hall Cair in Nis, was defeated Partizan with 85:80. In ABA league Mega qualified for the playoffs but then in the semi-finals despite big problems with injuries, overcome Buducnost with 2:0 in the series, which has achieved great success and a place in the finals of the regional competition. For new trophy unfortunately there was not enough power.
Youth categories of club with further successes “spice up” historical club season. Cadets of Mega Leks (U17) have become champions of Serbia, juniors (U19) won 3rd place but for the first time qualified for the finals of the junior Euroleague (U18), which was held in Berlin. Pioneers of BC Banjica Mega (U15) in the first year of the selection in the club were second in the country.
After the end of the season, at NBA draft as well as in 2014, when they picked Nikola Jokic (41. pick), Vasilije Micic (52. pick) and Nemanja Dangubic (54 pick), in 2016 were also picked three players of Mega Leksa (Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 24. pick, Ivica Zubac 32. pick and Rade Zagorac 35.pick), so Mega became the first team in history to twice had three players selected in one NBA draft. With Luwawu’s departure to Philadelphia and Zubac to the Lakers, the number of players who went directly from the club to the NBA have gone to three in the last two seasons.
The next step in the growth of the club was the 2016/17 season when Mega Leks for the first time participated in the European competition, the newly founded FIBA Basketball Champions League. Continuity of good results was continued in the ABA League by winning the sixth place and placing in the semi-finals of the Super League, which ensured participation in the ABA League in the next season.
A special success this were the younger categories of the club. The pioneers (U15) won the both title and cup with a total one defeat in all competitions, while cadets (U17) were second in Serbia, juniors (U18) also, who, in their second participation in the Junior Euroleague Final Tournament, won second place in Istanbul, having previously defeated their peers from Real Madrid, Fenerbahce and Zalgiris .
At the end of the season, the General Sponsorship Agreement with Bemax was signed and the club will continue its development under the name of Mega Bemax.
On the NBA draft of 2017, Mega made another historic success as it had three players on a draft for the third time. Vlatko Cancar was chosen by Denver Nagets as the 49th pick, New York Knicks chose Ognjen Jaramaz from 58th position, while Alpha Kaba was from the 60th place chosen by Atlanta Hawks. Thus, the number of drafted players of Mega from 2014 rose to nine while with Rade Zagorac transfer Memphis, the number of players who went directly from the club to the strongest league in the world rose to four.
A very important step forward in the development of the club is the “Mega Factory” training hall, where from summer 2017 train all the selections of the club. The hall was officially opened with “Mega Bemax Cup 2017”, which in addition to Mega Bemax, included also Lokomotiv Kuban, Partizan NIS and Telenet Giants Antwerp, in addition to Mega Bemax.
Youth categories of Mega continued with success. The junior team of Mega Bemax (U19) won the title in the premier season of the junior ABA league after they triumphed against Crvena zvezda mts with 82:60 in the Final Four which was held from 26th to 28th of January 2018 in Laktasi while U18 team for the third time in a row participated at F8 junior Euroleague tournament which was held in Belgrade during F4. Mega Bemax pioneers (U15) defended the trophy “Mini Cup of BeoBasket 2018” which organized by the Basketball Association of Serbia in Nis during the Radivoj Korac Cup.
A special challenge was the organization in a short period of three final tournaments of the Serbian championship, for the juniors (U19), cadets (U17) and pioneers (U15). Mega Bemax also passed this test greatly, so the tournaments without any objections were organized in the Mega Factory Hall.
First team continued the continuity of playing in the ABA league, where this time was won 9th place while in Radivoj Korac Cup Mega reached the semifinals. In the Super League of Serbia, Mega with the youngest team has reached the quarter-finals
In August 2018, Mega at the invitation of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, one of the largest NCAA teams with the most NBA players, played a friendly match in the Bahamas and after that, on the mini tour in Spain, beat Michigan Wolverines.
In the 2018/19 season, Mega ranked 5th in the ABA League, which is the 2nd best result in the history of the club, while in Radivoj Korac Cup reached semifinals. In Superleague Mega advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs.
The youth categories of the club had another great season behind. Mega Bemax juniors reiterated the success from 2017 after they took the 2nd place at the Junior Euroleague F8 Tournament in Vitoria while cadets (U17) won the title in Serbia, the second in the history of the club in that age category.
The final of the season was again more than successful, as Goga Bitadze was selected as the 18th pick by Indiana Pacers to whom he has signed a four year contract, and Adam Mokoka joined him in NBA as he signed a two-way contract with Chicago Bulls. With this, the number of drafted players from Mega from 2014 rose to 10 and the number of basketball players who directly from the club went to the NBA to 6.
In August 2019, Mega Bemax played two friendly matches in the Bahamas with the NCAA runners-up, the Texas Tech University, in which they recorded one win and one loss. The 2019/20 season was specific in many ways. Mega was left without the final of the Radivoje Korac Cup i in the last second, while the season in the ABA league was cancelled before the end due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the same reason, the Serbian SuperLeague was not played.
At the end of the season, after 10 years in the club, 8 of which were at the head of coaching staff, coach Dejan Milojević left the club, in whose honor the magnificent farewell match “Deki Ciao” was organized, and the coaching board was taken over by Vladimir Jovanovic.
In the ABA league, Mega achieved a lot of great victories and was in the fight for the playoffs until the very end, only to take the sixth place in the end. In the Radivoj Korac Cup, the fourth placement to the finals of the competition was achieved, while in the Super League, the historically first placement in the playoff finals was achieved, where Mega was defeated 2-1 in a series against Crvena zvezda after a great fight.
At the beginning of the season, Marko Simonovic became the twelfth player of Mega who was selected in the NBA draft, while Filip Petrusev won all three awards in the ABA league, for the MVP, the best scorer and the Top prospect. However, this season’s special splendor was given by the fact that Mega’s former players Nikola Jokic and Vasilije Micic won MVP awards in the two best leagues in the world, in the NBA and Euroleague, so by that fact Mega became unique club in the basketball world.
This was not the end of Mega’s success in this season either, since Filip Petrusev was selected as the 50th pick in the NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, thus becoming the 13th player in the history of the club to be selected in the NBA draft, which highlighted Mega’s candidacy to become a record holder from clubs outside the United States in the total number of drafted players.
Here we put a point. But only temporarily. Because this story keeps going.
+381 60 4161 992
|Secretariat of the club:|
Hall Mega Factory, Brace Jerkovic 119a, Belgrade
Working hours: Monday-Friday 9-15h
Phone/Fax +381 11 655 0124
|Statute of the club|