Club profile: Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

Jul 22, 2021 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Club profile: Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

A proud and always ambitious club from the Slovenian capital, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana was 2 seconds away from securing a place in the EuroCup Quarterfinals last season but ended up eliminated in the Top 16. There is no doubt this team will be gunning for greater heights now. An established core of home-grown players led by Jaka Blazic, the EuroCup's top overall performer last season, meshes well with a coach who also played for the club, Jurica Golemac, giving Cedevita Olimpija a strong anchor of tradition and know-how. The Slovenian champion has been getting stronger from year to year, and this season should be no different.

This season will be the third chapter for this club after the historic merger of 2019, the first such instance of two clubs from different countries joining forces. Olimpija and Cedevita combined their respective rich histories and brought loads of silverware into this new team's trophy room.

Olimpija is the winner of 17 Slovenian League crowns and 20 Slovenian Cups. It traces its history back to 1946 and adopted the name Olimpija in 1954. The team was an early power in the Yugoslav League with Ivo Daneu leading Olimpija to six domestic titles between 1957 and 1970. Slovenia's independence started a new era of success that saw Olimpija conquer league and cup trophies for 10 consecutive years. Olimpija won the Saporta Cup in 1994 and reached the 1997 EuroLeague Final Four, led by Marko Milic and Arriel McDonald. Olimpija made its EuroCup debut in 2013-14, but it wasn't until 2016-17 that it got back to winning ways with the Slovenian League and Cup double. Olimpija won its most recent Slovenian League championship in 2018.

Cedevita Zagreb was founded in the Croatian capital in 1991 under the name KK Botinec. The team reached the Croatian elite in 2002 and its ambitions rose when Atlantic Grupa took over in 2005 and the club changed its name to Cedevita. The team rose quickly to reach the 2011 EuroCup semifinals; Dontaye Draper was named EuroCup MVP and Aco Petrovic EuroCup Coach of the Year. A year later, Cedevita won its first title, the Croatian Cup, led by veteran forward Matjaz Smodis. Cedevita made its EuroLeague debut in the 2012-13 season and later made noise in the 2015-16 EuroLeague by reaching the Top 16.

Last season, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana had a solid 7-3 record in the EuroCup Regular Season and advanced to the Top 16, but lost the chance to continue to the quarterfinals in a tiebreaker. Now back for a third EuroCup season, this merged product of two trademark clubs in the competition continues to impress.