EuroCup Star Turn: Aleks Maric

Aug 18, 2020 by Print
EuroCup Star Turn: Aleks Maric

A EuroLeague champion who represented five different teams at the continent's elite level, big man Aleks Maric also made a mark in the 7DAYS EuroCup by taking that title, too, becoming a rare example of a champion in both competitions.

What came before

Maric was born and raised in his native Sydney, Australia, before spending his college years in the United States at the University of Nebraska. In 2008, he changed continents again to start his professional career in Europe with Spanish team Granada, where a solid season attracted the interest of European powerhouse Partizan Belgrade. In Serbia, where his family had come from, Maric enjoyed a hugely impressive debut season in the EuroLeague, averaging 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game to help his team all the way to the Final Four, which resulted in a narrow semifinal loss to Olympiacos. He was named to the All-Euroleague First Team and finished a glorious season by winning the Serbian League and Cup plus the Adriatic League with Partizan. Maric's stunning season earned another summer move, as he was picked out by iconic coach Zeljko Obradovic to join Panathinaikos Athens. His role with the Greek giant was more supporting than starring, and he was not helped by an injury that forced him to miss the entire Top 16. He returned to help his team secure a playoffs victory over defending champion FC Barcelona, and came back to the Spanish city a few weeks later for his second consecutive Final Four. Maric didn't feature in the semifinal victory over Real Madrid, but played nearly 10 minutes in the title game, registering 2 points, 3 rebounds and a blocked shot as Panathinaikos gained the EuroLeague title by beating Maccabi Tel Aviv.

EuroCup experience

After one more season with Panathinaikos, Maric joined Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in the summer of 2012. The Russian side was full of ambition and relied on Maric to play a central part in its challenge for silverware. The Australian center didn't let them down, averaging 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. He was particularly important in the final, coming off the bench to grab a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds to power Lokomotiv to the EuroCup crown with a 75-64 victory over Uxue Bilbao. That triumph sent Lokomotiv into the EuroLeague, and Maric played in 23 of his exciting team's 24 games the next season, a campaign which nearly resulted in a EuroLeague playoffs place. The following season, 2014-15, he played for both Galatasaray and Maccabi in the EuroLeague, before finishing his European career with another season in the EuroCup with Buducnost Podgorica.

What came after

Maric headed back home in 2016 to join Sydney Kings, before concluding his playing days with brief spells at Obradoiro in Spain and Al-Muharraq in Bahrain. He then returned to Australia for good, and is currently serving as assistant coach for hometown club Sydney Kings after joining the team last year.