View Full Version : Unknown YU stars

01-07-2012, 11:07 AM
hi everyone...

i'm aware of the fact that this forum is about younger people that did not have a chance for a closer look at yugoslav basketball of the past.
objectivity is a thing that is very hard to produce on regular basis.
people tend to forget the past or how great older players were. i'm following the game for 40 years and you have to know that is not the same game today. not only because of the changing rules, but also because of internet, all kind of meaningless stats etc...
to me, the most important is the difference in quality of play that player imposed over his foes. it's hard to say that Dr.J is better than LeBron James, but i think that Dr was way above others during his heyday, much more than LeBron is.
Another thing (and maybe most important) is the joy you feel when you're watching someone play.
joy I feel when i watch Dr.J is way above watching James and his muscles do the work...
this thread is about ex-yu players, not about the NBA. today is very hard not to compare things and players with NBA as some european players showed they can be MVP's even in the NBA. yap, you know that's about Nowitzky.

Dirk is obviously great, but he got to the NBA when he was a teenager and his path to NBA stardom was cleared by ex-yu stars a decade earlier...
it's not the same thing to come in the NBA at 19 or 31 years of age. what's the point of all this talk?

the point is - if someone thinks that Dirk Nowitzky is better (better is rather stupid word) player than for example Toni Kukoc, than he doesn't have a clue about a basketball (but it's also a thing of taste and joy)
if Toni came to NBA 5 years earlier and received 40 min of playing time (it was impossible at the time not only because of Pippen, but also because of U.S. prejudices about European players - Toni could play point guard) for a number of years, he would have a numbers as Dirk (Toni was much better passer and a bit better defender)...

so i will start with 3 position...

small forwards:

Dražen Dalipagić - that man was a beast. he begun to play basketball aged 18!!!, two years later, he was a member of a national team. today, he is mostly forgotten (got to the HOF in 2004), but he is the best scorer in the history of basketball alongside Oscar, Jordan, Galis and Chamberlain. He is the only man to beat Oscar Schmidt (he did it several times) as a top scorer of the Italian league. He holds numerous scoring records such as 70pts in Italian league or 34.7ppg in the Italian playoff during his career. Playing for Partizan Belgrade, Dalipagić averaged 43 ppg during 1981-1982 season without the 3 point shot. His career spanned 20 years and from 1973-1986, he was member of the national team of Yugoslavia, winning all possible accolades such as Olympic, World and European golds.

Nicknamed Praja, he was the first European which dunked from the free throw line. He transformed his game in the 80's when his physical skills started to vane, just to explode as a 3pt shooter when new rules arrived. Praja won the Yugoslav league title with Partizan in 1976 and Korać Cup in 1978 (scoring 50 in the final). He was voted the best athlete in Yugoslavia in 1978 and the best basketball player in Europe in 1977, 1978 and 1980. In his peak, in late seventies, he terrorized the glass, using his 96 cm vertical leap, using it in spectacular dunks, tip-offs and offensive rebounds. It's pity there's no reliable stats data apart from scoring from this period in Yugoslavia.

In his final appearance for NT of Yugoslavia at the 1986 WC, Praja led all scorers in the bronze medal game with 32 (Oscar Schmidt had 27 for Brazil, Dražen Petrović 23 for Yugoslavia). He was 35 at the time. That was his 12th international major medal. Only Krešo Ćosić has more major medals in Yugoslavia (14). Dalipagić went over 50 points 15 times in Italian and many more times in Yu league. In 1987, at 36 years of age, he averaged 36.5 points per game, in 1988 netted 36.3 and than 33.8 in 1989. During his tenure in Italian league, many former top scorers in the NBA like George Gervin, Adrian Dantley, Bob Mcadoo, Spencer Haywood played there averaging 10-15 points per game less than "Praja" when same age roughly . His shooting career averages in Italia are 58.5 % for 2 points, 47,5 % for 3 points and 87 % free throws.

Interestingly, when Praja dominated European basketball in the late 70's, he was considered as only second best player of his team Partizan, sharing the fame with another legend - Dragan Kićanović who was the only ever player ever to beat Praja in scoring at the club level. They had pretty weird relationship off the court, but at the court, they were lethal. Even West-Baylor duo in the NBA did not scored so much. In 1978 they battled for the scoring title in Yugoslavia with "Kića" prevailing in last game of the season with 34.4 ppg, Dalipagić had 33.7 ppg, but the title went to Bosna. Dražen (the first one) ended his career in 1992 in his 40's, after playing for city rivals, Red Star Belgrade in 1990-1991 season.
His four medals in the World Championships (Silver, 1974; Gold, 1978; Bronze, 1982 and 1986) are international basketball records.

Toni Kukoč- the most decorated European player of all time at club level. Toni was the greatest natural talent that Yugoslavia ever had. He was great in all segments of the game during his years in Europe. From 1989 to 1993, Kukoč was by far the best European player, leading Jugoplastika to 3 consecutive Euroleague titles. Still remember his quadruple-double in league game against Cibona in 1990 (17pts, 13 ast, 13 rebs, 10stl). Pink Panther in arena, he amazed masses. Three consecutive European crowns with Jugoplastika were stuff of legend. His games in Yu league, against Partizan are unforgettable. Jugoplastika with Toni, Rađa, Ivanović, Sobin, Savić, Sretenović, Perasović was voted for a team of the 20th century in Europe. Kukoč was simply magic.

With team of Yugoslavia, Tony won European bronze (1987), and golds (1989,1991), Olympic silver in 1988, World gold in 1990 in 5 years. With national team of Croatia, Olympic silver in 1992, European bronzes in 1993 and 1995 and World bronze in 1994. He was the MVP of 1990 World Championships and 1991 European Champs. Toni is also the first (and still only) basketball player that has 3 MVP accolades at the Euroleague Final Fours (1990, 1991, 1993).

Many people know about his NBA career with Chicago and 3 consecutive NBA titles. He was mostly used off the bench at 4 position while gaining 15 kilos in two years and another 10 during remainder of his career! He lost most of his lateral quickness and jumping ability through that.
Kilos and muscles arrived, but the Magic has gone after 1998 season. Toni was still solid player, but no way near his years in Jugoplastika and Benetton (Italy). After great Chicago team dispersed after winning third consecutive NBA title in 1998, Kukoč had his best statistical NBA season in 1999, during the lockout shortened season. Toni averaged 19pts, 7 rebs and 5 ast and led the Bulls in each category. He played for more years after that (Philly, Atlanta, Milwaukee), eventually retiring in 2006.

In a TV interview in 2008, he was asked how's possible that Okur an Turkoglu played at All-Star Game and he did not, Toni responded that he thinks that his generation of Europeans in NBA (Petrović, Divac, Sabonis, Marculionis, Radja...) was much better than this one (Nowitzky, Parker, Stojakovic, Gasol...), but "it simply wasn't the right time. USA was still full of prejudices..."

His three consecutive Euroleague than three consecutive NBA titles will NEVER be repeated by anyone.

Dejan Bodiroga

Žarko Varajić - Žarko was one of the most efficient scorers in the history of Yugoslav, but also European basketball. He started his career quietly in Bosna Sarajevo, in the second Yu division at the time. When Bosna made it in the first division in 1972, Varajić was complemented on the court with another legend, Mirza Delibašić. With Mirza at 2 and Žarko at 3 position, Sarajevo became mecca of basketball almost immediately. These two attractive players and high scoring machines made audiences went crazy in former Yugoslavia. Often, they combined for 50, 60, 70 or 80(?) points per game. However, Bosna did not became contender for league title until mid 70's when they also signed center, Ratko Radovanović and when their former player, Bogdan Tanjević, became a coach.

Varajić averaged nearly 30 ppg in the late 70's and also became member of NT alonside Mirza and Ratko, bringing home Olympic silver in 1976 and European gold in 1977. Bosna lost in the Korać Cup final in 1978, beaten by Partizan after overtime in the offensive festival that ended with 110-117 loss. Only 3 days later, Bosna avenged that defeat, beating Partizan in Belgrade in another OT game, winning their first Yugoslav league title. Žarko scored 33. But it was next year that was the most remarkable in Žarko's career. Playing in the Euroleague for the first time, Bosna surprised everyone when qualified for the final against great Varese team that played it's 10th consecutive final. Varajić had some memorable games before the final, filling Maccabi's basket with 41 pts in only 24 minutes of play, but it was the final in Grenoble that created legend of Žarko. Bosna won the first Euroleague title for Yugoslavia, beating Varese 96-93 and Žarko exploded for 45 (47 by some sources) points. With Mirza adding 30, they scored 75(!) of team's 96 points.

Varajić continued to shine in the Yugoslav league for several years after that, having more memorable (40 or even 50 + pts) games and together with Mirza, won another league title in 1980. Mirza then left Bosna, becoming the first Yugo player that signed for Real Madrid while Varajić remained loyal to Bosna until the end of his career. He won his third Yugoslav title in 1983 after controversial final against Šibenka and retired after the next season. His 45 points in the Euroleague final will probably remained a record forever.
Maybe it will be erased from the record books to let people enjoy in TEAMS that score 45 and get excited about the quality of defences.

Goran Grbović - If Toni Kukoč was most talented player ever that came from former Yugoslavia, than Grbović was most athletic. At his best, he dunked like Dominique Wilkins and nailed 3 pts like Peja Stojaković. Problem was his head and his on and off court demeanor that prevented him from the global stardom. Sometimes, I think that he could score 25-30 ppg in the NBA, considering who does it today. Starting his career in Borac Čačak, under legendary Aca Nikolić, Goran moved to Partizan in early 80's and was overshadowed by Kićanović and Dalipagić in his early years. He had breakthrough season in 1982-1983, pumping in 21 ppg and debuted for the NT at the 1983 European Champs in France that turned to be disaster for Yugoslavia. Grbović continued his stellar play in Yu league, bettering his numbers each year, but was left off the NT for his heavy drinking, freaky manners on the court and other issues...

When Partizan signed Divac and Paspalj in 1986, Grbović was still team leader and played main role in 1987 playoffs when Partizan won the league tile. He dropped 44 pts on Bosna in semis and had 30 (6-8 for 3 pt) against Crvena Zvezda in the decisive game of the final. These performances gained him place on NT and that summer, he won his only international medal at the European Champs in Greece where Yugoslavia finished 3rd. In next year's Euroleague, he was the best player during the regular season, going over 30 points 7 times in 10 games, highlighted with 41 vs Nashua. Partizan made the final four as the best team during the regular season, but "Grba" - his nickname - went cold at final four, contributing only 19 pts in the semis against Maccabi and Partizan finished only third. Shockingly, he was again left off the National Team, despite having better season than Kukoč or Paspalj. In the league final against Jugoplastika, Partizan was heavily beaten in the deciding game. Remember one moment from the game when Grbović made 3 pointer, but referee showed only 2 fingers. Goran runs to referee, catches his hand and pulls his third finger... just to be awarded with technical...

Goran than moved to Spain, signing for Granada. He had rather spectacular season in Spain, averaging 28 ppg for a second place at scoring lists (behind Dražen Petrović), with high of 52 points, only 2 behind the Spainsh league record of San Epifanio who scored 54. Grbović also led the league in 3 pt shots made. For one more time, he was not selected to play for team of Yugoslavia at that year's European Championships in Zagreb and his career went down after that, ending in early 90's. Goran Grbović never fulfilled his potential, but anyone who saw him at his best, will always remember Grba and his playing madness...

Damir Šolman - gentleman on and off the court, Damir was a part of Yugoslav team from 1967 to 1976, becoming World Champion in 1970 and European in 1973 and 1975. He also has two Olympic silvers (1968 and 1976) and World silver in 1974. At domestic level, Šolman is most remembered as a flawless scorer of strong Jugoplastika squad (with legends Rato Tvrdić at guard and Pero Skansi at center they won first Yu title in 1971) which was the first Yugoslav team to reach Euroleague final in 1972. They were just beaten by powerhouse Ignis Varese 70-69 in the final. Šolman scored 20, but missed layup in the final seconds of the game in highly controversial situation (many analysts considers he was fouled). Next year, Jugoplastika lost the Sapporta Cup final (Damir scored 24 in the final).

Šolman was at his best in mid 70's, regularly averaging around 30 ppg in Yu league. Jugoplastika won Korać Cup in 1976 while Damir was at Army service and repeated that feat in 1977, beating Fortitudo Bologna in the final (Šolman scored 19 in the final). By then Jugoplastika had new stars in Željko Jerkov and Duje Krstulović alongside Šolman and Rato Tvrdić. However, it was Šolman that brought second Yu title to Split that same year in a match against Bosna, converting long range shot in the final seconds of the game. He also won three Yugoslav cups during his years in Jugoplastika (1972,1974,1977).
He than played in Italy for 2 years, averaging 25 ppg in his first season. Šolman returned to Jugoplastika in 1979 and played there for several more years, retiring in 1983.
Damir is all-time best scorer of Jugoplastika (today KK Split) with 5783 points.

Žarko Paspalj

Predrag Stojaković

Branko Skroče

Zoran Čutura

Vladimir Cvetković

Dragan Kapičić

Boro Vučević

01-09-2012, 07:18 AM
Very interesting.

Except Peter Vilfan (Slovenian) are all the other players Croats ?

pohani komarac
01-09-2012, 05:54 PM
Very interesting.

Except Peter Vilfan (Slovenian) are all the other players Croats ?

no. plecas, tvrdic, skansi, solman are. st. nikola plecas is unrightfully forgotten star in our basketball because of mirko novosel influace who kicked out him ex yu team. mirko was always jeluse about nikola popularity in zagreb and always wannted to be creator of Cibona, but that would never happend if there was no nikola plecas
i would also add pino giergia, bob cousy from zadar. first player ever in ex yu basketball who dribled betwen the legs and threw behind back passes. when boston celtics played in karlovac with croatian NT. those who watched game say he was only player who could deal with boston nba star. he still is greatest pg croatia ever had



Bosnian 23
01-10-2012, 03:11 AM
Do you guys know about Miralem Halilovic? If not, I'll inform you on our Bosnian youngster. :D

pohani komarac
01-10-2012, 09:30 AM
Do you guys know about Miralem Halilovic? If not, I'll inform you on our Bosnian youngster. :D

i doubt miralem halilovic belongs to this thread

pohani komarac
01-14-2012, 03:56 PM
this is not plecas words for sure

pohani komarac
01-14-2012, 07:58 PM
I might be kid, but I'm not dumb to read and trust yellow pages who make their living by imputing and selling hate among stupid and naive people. Index, Alo and so on can only be taken as relevat by retard retards

I know Nikola ethnic background, but he is and always was acepted as Croat in Croatia by most of us Croats who is proud about his Serbin roots. He is one of kindest personalitys and for sure that is not his words. People like you or Glista (Novosel) may try to erse him, but you will not make it


Giricek is calling him to activate in Cibona veterans

03-07-2013, 06:21 AM
shooting guards:

Dragan Kićanović

Dražen Petrović

Mirza Delibašić

Predrag Danilović

Nikola Plećaš

Ljubodrag Simonović

Radmilo Mišović

For sure, the most obscure name at that list is Radmilo Mišović. His fame was built in čačak, by the river Morava, his favorite fishing place. Somehow, anyone who followed ex-Yu league in late 60's and 70's had to be astonished with displays of high scoring guard from Čačak. Only Radivoj Korać's 7 scoring titles in Yugoslavia eclipsed 5 of Mišović.
Still, without 3 pt shot, Radmilo excelled in fast paced games, averaging over 26 ppg for his career (almost is certain that he would reach 30 with 3 pt shot).

Great Euroleague columnist, Vladimir Stanković says about Mišović: "...Before Kićanović, Čačak had another huge star, scoring ace Radmilo Misovic, but his fame never crossed Yugoslavian borders because he, due to his character, always decided to stay close to home, close to Cacak. He liked to go fishing at the Morava river and keep his quiet life rather than signing for a big team in Belgrade or any other place. Misovic was the Yugoslavian League top scorer five times: 1968 (29.2 ppg.), 1969 (28.4), 1971 (29.3), 1972 (30.0) and 1974 (31.7)..."


ex-Yu scoring lists puts Mišović on 4th ever ppg average:

1 Dalipagic,Drazen 33,657
2 Korac,Radivoj 31,248
3 Kicanovic,Dragan 27,702
4 Misovic,Radmilo 26,095
5 Petrovic,Drazen 24,72...

His provincial and often undisciplined (on the court - he would take 5-6 incredible shots in 2 or so minutes) manners prevented him of reaching global fame. Mišović never played for legendary Yugoslav team at the major championships, but his legacy will last forever...
He created superstar duo with Dragan Kicanovic in 1972-1973 season in Borac, Čačak, when each scored nearly 30ppg and finished strong Yugoslav league at 4th place. Kićanović would leave for Partizan after that season and would be considered as a greatest player to come out from Čačak, although the most decorated man in basketball, that comes from Čačak would remain Željko Obradović, most decorated coach in Europe.
If I would have to compare Mišović with someone, I would say Galis.
it's pity that his games are not well documented as a video (same as Baylor's or Chamberlain...)

Peter Vilfan

Peter was a legend. He was the first guard in Europe to dunk behind his back despite being only 190 cm high. Nicknamed Černy Petr (Black Peter), he was also known for his long range bombs. He was rather unknown when signed by Yu champ Jugoplastika in 1977, but than dropped 45 pts on Maccabi in Euroleague game to make breakthrough. His performances in Jugoplastika earned him place on Yugoslav team at 1978 World Championships, where he was member of the best ever backcourt of Yu team, alongside Kićanović, Delibašić and Slavnić. Yugoslav team became World Champs for the second time.

Vilfan than signed for Olimpija Ljubljana, but missed 1980 Olympic gold as he was in army service at the time. In Olimpija, Peter had many memorable high-scoring games. Remember one when he scored 58 pts vs Bosna Sarajevo (Varajić pumped in 54 for Bosna), but Olimpija lost 117-120. Sometimes, he brought headaches to his coaches because of his "gunman" style of play while audiences went crazy. Vilfan welcomed 3 pt shot in 1984, but by then, his career in national team was over.

In 1985-1986 he played superb season for Partizan Belgrade, delivering 25 ppg and than again returned to Olimpija, where he played until the end of his career in both, first and second Yu division, scoring as many as 70 pts in second division game. Vilfan was terrific scorer, but for real basketball gourmets, he is most remembered for his pass to opposing player, Boban Petrović. Petrović than returned the ball to Vilfan, assisting him for a layup. Referees stopped the game for several minutes, while whole Tivoli (Olimpija's hall) gave them standing ovation. Both, Vilfan and Petrović were rejected from the game. There was a time when fun on the court was more important than results. Fuckin' Harlem in Yu version...

Duško Ivanović

Velimir Perasović

Zdravko Radulović

Arijan Komazec

Petar Popović

03-07-2013, 06:25 AM
power forwards:

Dino Radja

Radivoj Korać

Zoran Savić

Pero Skansi

Mihovil Nakić

Mihovil was not exceptional talent, sensational scorer or flashy player like many in this list. He was one of the best hard-workers of former Yu-basketball league and one of the best defenders that Yugoslavia ever had. Beginning to play in early 70's, Nakić was signed by Mirko Novosel's Cibona in 1977 as a part of a great future project. He made his NT debut in 1979, bringing home European bronze medal. Next year, he was a member of a Yugoslav squad that won Olympic gold medal in Moscow, despite playing rarely behind many stars that Yugoslavia had.

Mihovil's best seasons came in 1980's as he was an instrumental in Cibona's success. He transformed the game being one of the first modern power forwards (before it was usual to play with 2 classic centers). Cibona, led by legendary Krešo Ćosić, won it's first league title in 1982, alongside Cup Winners Cup (in which they beat Real Madrid) and domestic cup. Nakić contributed with his rebounding, shot blocking and fine shooting from the wing. He added another league title in 1984, scoring decisive basket in the play-off final against Crvena Zvezda. That basket changed the history of basketball as great Dražen Petrović, who was at Army Service in Belgrade at the time, decided to continue his career with league champion and that was (thanks to Mihovil's basket) Cibona.

Final years of Nakić's career were his best. After adding Olympic bronze in L.A. in 1984, Cibona became European Champ in 1985. Dražen was hailed as a hero, but without the contributions of Nakić, it would be mission impossible. Mihovil scored 7 pts, but also grabbed 11 boards and had 8(?) blocks in the 1985 Euroleague final against Real Madrid. Cibona would repeat as European Champion in 1986 and it was again Nakić who played major role, as he provoked great Sabonis under the basket. Sabas kicked Nakić and was rejected from the game, clearing the path for an easy victory of Cibona. Mihovil than briefly played in Italian league, returning to Cibona in 1989 to close his career.

Duje Krstulović

Boban Petrović

Predrag Benaček

Radisav Čurčić

Nikola Vujčić

Dejan Tomašević

Veljko Petranović

Zufer Avdija

03-07-2013, 06:26 AM

Krešo Ćosić

Vlade Divac

Željko Jerkov

Ratko Radovanović

Željko Rebrača

Vinko Jelovac

Andro Knego

Rajko Žižić

Stojan Vranković

Trajko Rajković

Miroslav Pecarski

03-07-2013, 06:27 AM
point guards:

Aleksandar Đorđević

Zoran Slavnić

Ivo Daneu

Rato Tvrdić

Giuseppe Giergia

Srećko Jarić

Aleksandar Petrović

Zoran Radović

Petar Naumoski

Jure Zdovc

Danko Cvjetičanin

Emir Mutapčić

Željko Obradović