2010-11 Eurocup Coach of the Year: Aleksandar Petrovic, Cedevita Zagreb

Apr 05, 2011 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
2010-11 Eurocup Coach of the Year: Aleksandar Petrovic, Cedevita Zagreb
Aleksandar Petrovic - Cedevita (photo kkcedevita.hr)Euroleague Basketball is honored to announce that Aleksandar Petrovic of Cedevita Zagreb, who took his team all the way from the Qualifying Round to the Eurocup Finals, has been chosen as the 2010-11 Eurocup Coach of the Year. In his second season on Cedevita's bench, Petrovic has already led the club to its best results ever. Now, he and Cedevita aims for the club's first trophy of any kind at the Eurocup Finals in Treviso, Italy on April 16 and 17. Cedevita went against all odds this season, first to survive qualifying, and then to rally rally from slow starts in both the regular season and the Last 16. Cedevita crowned its season-long effort by becoming the only quarterfinals team without homecourt advantage to sweep its series. Petrovic's task was made difficult due to severe injuries during the season, including the loss of the team's leading rebounder, Corsley Edwards, for both quarterfinal games. In fact, not one Cedevita player started every Eurocup game this season and only two of them – Robert Troha and Damjan Rudez – played in all 14. Nonetheless, Petrovic got the most from every player on his roster, in each and every situation.

As such, he becomes the third winner of the annual award, which was introduced in the 2008-09 season. The previous winner were Oktay Mahmuti, then the coach of Benetton Basket, and Ilias Zouros, who worked for Panellinios last season.

The Eurocup Coach of the Year is part of an expanded awards structure meant to enhance the recognition of the finest Eurocup players and coaches for their efforts throughout the season. Earlier this week, Donatas Motiejunas of Benetton Basket Bwin was selected as the 2010-11 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner. Euroleague Basketball and its in-house experts will also select players for the All-Eurocup first and second teams and the Eurocup MVP. The Eurocup Finals MVP award will go the best player at that event as voted by accredited journalists in attendance during the title game.

Coach Petrovic had Cedevita playing inspired basketball right from the start of the season. For starters, Cedevita took care of business with a resounding 36-point home win against Dynamo Moscow in Game 1 of the Eurocup Qualifying Round. Despite opening the regular season with a home loss against Hapoel Gilboa Galil, Petrovic guided Cedevita to victory in four of the next five games to reach the Last 16 against experienced, powerful teams like Aris BSA 2003 and Azovmash. Always a players' coach, Petrovic found his floor general in Dontaye Draper and got the most out of players like Rudez, Edwards, Vedran Vukusic and Marino Bazdari. Cedevita slipped briefly, dropping its first two Last 16 games, but rebounded with back-to-back wins against Spanish powerhouse Gran Canaria. Cedevita drilled 35 triples in those wins, which despite the longer three-point line this season, were the most threes ever made by a team in back-to-back Eurocup games. Petrovic's team drilled 18 three-pointers in its 86-89 road win in Gran Canaria, the most by a visiting team in competition history. Cedevita clinched a quarterfinals berth with a home win against Hemofarm and then managed to beat Unics on the road despite playing without Draper and Edwards. Cedevita rallied from a 17-point deficit to register a 90-81 home win in Game 1 of the Quarterfinals against Estudiantes and completed a perfect series with a 72-81 road triumph in their rematch. As such, Cedevita will carry a six-game win streak to Treviso and the Eurocup Finals.

Petrovic, age 52, knows what it takes to win it all in Europe. A two-time Euroleague and Saporta Cup winner as a player with Cibona, Petrovic also won European, World and Olympic medals with the former Yugoslavia, but also had a long, respectable coaching career with many highlights. Those include six Croatian League titles - five with Cibona and another one with Zadar - and a bronze medal with Croatia at EuroBasket 1995. Petrovic has also coached this season's Eurocup powerhouse Cajasol, back then still called Caja San Fernando, to the Spanish League finals in 1996 and to the Euroleague eighthfinals the following season. In 2002, Petrovic helped Anwil Wloclawek to reach the Saporta Cup semifinals in yet another success. Last season, Petrovic and Cedevita were one game away from reaching the Croatian League finals. This season, however, Petrovic has led Cedevita to overcome all expectations in what he has called "a science-fiction season". It is not over yet, as Petrovic will try to finish an unique Eurocup season with two more wins that would lead Cedevita to win its first title and a place in the Euroleague next season!