Coach Petar Mijovic, who was promoted to be the team's head coach midway through last season, now has a chance to lead Buducnost VOLI Podgorica from the season start for the first time. In doing so, Coach Mijovic will have some new shiny pieces that the club added to an already experienced core that did most of the work and carried much of the load last season. Buducnost's front line got a big boost with the additions of Melvin Ejim and Dragan Apic as well as rookie Tyler Hagedorn. At the same time, a pair of shooting guards, Rashad Vaughn and Fletcher Magee, will be significant additions to the team's backcourt.
Buducnost has traditionally depended on a strong backcourt play and once again this season the team will have loads of firepower and experience on the perimeter. Playmaker Justin Cobbs is coming off a career season and considered to be one of the premier point guards in the competition; he led the EuroCup in assists (7.3 apg.), ranked fourth in PIR (19.9), and seventh in scoring (15.4 ppg.) last season. Point guard Nikola Ivanovic is a seasoned veteran entering his eighth season in either the EuroCup or EuroLeague despite being just 26 years of age. Ivanovic plays well, and a lot of minutes, either as a starter or off the bench. Vaughn is a competition rookie, but could be the type of difference-maker that Buducnost hasn't had in years. Petar Popovic and Magee are dangerous sharpshooters. Fedor Zugic, 17, is considered the future of the club and could make his EuroCup debut this season. Team captain and club legend Suad Sehovic is a glue guy who contributes on the perimeter, on the boards and holds the reigns in the locker room.
Ejim is a two-way player who has proven he has all the tools to be a go-to guy. The former Italian League MVP played the past three years with EuroCup contenders UNICS Kazan and Unicaja Malaga. Ejim will have plenty of room to show his all-round tools and be a leader in the Montenegrin capital. Up-and-coming center Dragan Apic was brought to be the anchor in the paint and will be trusted to carry the load inside with the reliable Zoran Nikolic as a trusted back up. Buducnost expects a lot from athletic forward Aleksa Ilic who can play above the rim and help out on the glass, but whose rise was stopped by a knee injury that caused him to skip almost the entire 2018-19 campaign. What will make this group even more dangerous are the two stretch-fours, Danilo Nikolic and rookie Hagedorn, who led college basketball last season by making 51.4% from long range. This is a frontline that should not be underestimated.
Player to watch
Big man Dragan Apic has been knocking on the door of stardom for some time. The center, who will turn 25 years of age a few days after the regular season tips off in October, earned MVP of the Round honor in his third appearance in the competition when he played for Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. Strong, quick and athletic, Apic has been able to dominate in the paint, but he has been looking for more playing volume. He arrived at Buducnost wanting to prove he can deliver consistently the way he did in the 2018-19 Adriatic League campaign when he dominated the competition with a league-high 21.3 points plus 7.2 rebounds per game. Apic will now get a chance to prove he can bring his strong inside game in that capacity and as consistently at the EuroCup level, too.
Buducnost has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride in recent seasons. After going winless in the 2016-17 EuroCup regular season, Buducnost bounced back to reach the quarterfinals a season later and also used domestic success secured a place in the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Last year, Buducnost again did not get past the EuroCup regular season, but had a strong second half of the season and hopes to build on that. This team has both veteran leadership and elite-level experience along with a good balance of long-range firepower and size and muscle inside. All things indicate that Buducnost will once again be a tough nut to crack with all the pieces in place to make a long run this season.