Partizan in world media



Partizan power to record victory

Tuesday 21 July 2009Match report by Aleksandar Bošković from Belgrade

Cleverson added to his strike in Wales with three more goals in Belgrade (©

FK Partizan racked up the biggest victory in their European history with an eight-goal show against Rhyl FC in front of 10,000 spectators in Belgrade, setting up a third qualifying round tie against APOEL FC.
Cleverson hat-trick
Cleverson led the way for the Serbian champions with a hat-trick while there were goals in either half for Brana Ilić. Lamine Diarra had opened the scoring with Nenad Djordjević making it 3-0 and the seventh came from Radosav Petrović. The spree ensured they eclipsed their record 7-1 success against FC Santa Coloma in the UEFA Cup qualifying round in 2001/02.
Diarra opener
The Welsh side displayed great respect and sportsmanship in both games of the tie but were simply outclassed again following a 4-0 reverse a week ago. Cleverson's header provided the first for Diarra before the Brazilian himself registered with a sensational finish from Nemanja Tomić's pass.
Set-piece strikes
Djordjević's free-kick after 19 minutes increased the lead and Ilić's solo effort made it four before half-time. Diarra repaid the compliment for Cleverson after the interval before a special strike from Ilić made it 6-0. Petrović continued the onslaught by heading in a corner before Cleverson completed his treble from the penalty spot with 18 minutes remaining.


Hrabro momče

A fanbase like few other, in any, in European basketball, a signature coach respected and appreciated all around the globe and the rare ability to reinvent itself every season despite losing some of its best players are the main reasons that Partizan is what it is today: One of the best basketball clubs in the world. Back-to-back Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoff appearances, eight consecutive Serbian League titles and three straight Adriatic League championships are its main credentials in showing that Partizan has been among the very elite of European basketball. Partizan is simply keeping up a deep tradition of excellence based on homegrown players. Partizan started collecting international fame with Korac Cup trophies in 1978, 1979 and 1989 and a Euroleague semifinals appearance in 1988, the first year of the Final Four era. In 1992, Partizan joined the pantheon of continental champions when another of its youthful teams finished with a miraculous buzzer-beater by Sasha Djordjevic to win the club's first – and to date only – Euroleague title. At home, Partizan remained a steady power amid sharp competition, winning cups and titles at a steady clip, while the club's European standing remained high through another Final Four appearance in 1998. In recent years, Partizan has collected its eight domestic titles in a row by depending largely on homegrown players, making its achievements even more noteworthy. Indeed, while adding trophies to an already crowded trophy case, Partizan continues to develop players like few clubs anywhere. A young nucleus of talented locals inspired Partizan's latest heroics, too. In the 2006-07 season, after years of trying, Partizan muscled its way into the Top 16 by taking a clutch road win against eventual Euroleague champion Panathinaikos. Partizan continued its strong play after that, topping FMP for its first-ever Adriatic League crown before winning the Serbian League again by handling archrival Crvena Zvezda in the playoff finals. The following season, Partizan managed to get even better, riding the spectacular play of Nikola Pekovic and Milt Palacio back into the Top 16, where its decisive win over Panathinaikos sent Partizan to the Quarterfinal Playoffs, its highest finish in Europe in almost a decade. Partizan fell one victory short of a Final Four return when it lost Game 3 of the playoffs to Tau Ceramica. Nonetheless, Partizan finished off a special season by lifting three trophies: the Adriatic League, Serbian Cup and Serbian championship. Pekovic and Palacio left, but Milenko Tepic and Novica Velickovic led Partizan throughout the 2008-09 season and Partizan showed off its ability to develop new talent with the emergence of Jan Vesely and to find gems in the foreign market with Stephane Lasme. Partizan once again won its domestic triple crown and returned to the Euroleague playoffs, losing against CSKA. The 2009-10 season will not be different much for Partizan, which is practically unbeatable at home and has the needed confidence to win on the road. Once again look for Partizan to challenge all the traditional powers with its winning formula of young talent, diehard fans and coaching genius.

jedan zanimljiv tekst sa sajta evrolige ...



Partizan keeping up appearances

Wednesday 2 September 2009 by Aleksandr Bošković from Belgrade

Partizan coach Slaviša Jokanović knows his team must be at their best to progress (©Getty Images)

While the only thing FK Partizan coach Slaviša Jokanović can promise after the toughest of UEFA Europa League draws is "bravery", the Crno-beli's proud European history suggests the likes of FC Shakhtar Donetsk can take nothing for granted.
First ever game
While FK Crvena Zvezda's 1991 European Champion Clubs' Cup triumph shines like a beacon in the annals of Serbian exploits in continental competition, it is arch-rivals Partizan who boast the longest history. Partizan lined up in the first-ever match in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1955 when they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Sporting Clube de Portugal, and in 2003/04 became Serbia's first contenders in the competition that followed it; the UEFA Champions League. Now, after seeing off MŠK Žilina in the play-offs, they are poised to play their part in the inaugural UEFA Europa League campaign.
Tough draw
"In the past two seasons we have played 16 games in European competition – that means a lot to us," said Jokanović. "Now we have set sights on continuing our campaign beyond the group stage, but we will have to be at our best if we want to progress from Group J." Indeed, last Friday's draw in Monaco paired the Superliga champions with UEFA Cup holders Shakhtar, Club Brugge KV and Toulouse FC. "Draws are like that – our opponents are the best team from last year, a big Belgian side and the strongest club in the fourth pot," rued Jokanović. "I can only promise one thing – we will be brave. Our wish is to prolong our involvement into the spring."
'Biggest pain'
Those ambitions have been reconfigured since the summer, as Partizan's European adventure began in mid-July with a 12-0 aggregate second qualifying round victory over Rhyl FC in the UEFA Champions League. However, they were edged out by APOEL FC at the next stage, the "biggest pain" of a 2-1 defeat heightened as the Cypriot side went on to book a group-stage place. "We missed a big chance," admitted Jokanović. "When you play so well it is difficult to explain. We had one bad game in Nicosia and lost 2-0 after so many missed chances. But life continues; nobody will wait for us." Sadly, nor would left-back Ivan Obradović, who opted to move to Real Zaragoza, but Jokanović – who himself spent nine seasons in Spain during his gilded playing days – believes Partizan can adapt. Shakhtar, Club Brugge and Toulouse be warned: they usually do.


О српском спорту али и о Партизану као најуспешнијем српском спортском друштву кроз преглед протекле сезоне у часопису намењеном српској дијаспори у Британији...

Who let the Serbs out ;)

If you come across a reasonably knowledgeable football fan in the UK and ask about football players from Serbia, the answer will be all too obvious. We won’t name “him” just yet. Manchester United hardliners might add two of the youngsters that recently joined their flanks, Chelsea fans will know Ivanović, of course. The fact of the matter is that Serbian players have always been here adding that little bit extra to the art of football.

Some of us, longer in the tooth, might remember that Petar Borota used to delight and frighten Chelsea fans with his legendary saves. One of Red Star’s legends, Vladimir Petrović had a stint with Arsenal. The present Serbian national team coach, Radomir “Raddy” Antić is well known from his time at Luton. More recently Dejan Stefanović left his mark at Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth, Fulham and Norwich and Savo Milošević is still remembered by Aston Villa fans.

Fast forward to present time... When someone is voted as the best player by both players and fans of his own team (which happens to be one of the best known football teams in the world), as well as by the Premier League; when someone loses out on an accolade from the FA due to politics alone; when someone is named in the ideal team of the season in countless football magazines; when someone is at the heart of the best defence in the game, HE must be worth all the praise. Two words. A forename (which comes from the Serbian royal lineage) and a surname. Nemanja Vidić.

The other Serb who showed a glimpse of his talent this season, with two important headers (even although he is defender) Branislav Bane Ivanović. He scored his first goal for Chelsea against Liverpool in the first leg of Champions League Quarter-final match. He then went on to score another header in the same game, which proved to be decisive to see Chelsea progress to semi-final. Ivanović was a surprise signing for Chelsea, who signed him for £9 million from Russia’s Locomotiv Moscow. He was hailed as being one of the best offensive defenders in emerging Russian league. Bane is also part of Serbian national team and has a formed solid partnership with Vidić in the heart of the defence.

In January 2009, Manchester United reportedly paid £17 million for the Partizan Belgrade talented duo, Zoran Tosić and Adem Ljajić. The latter stayed with Partizan until the end of the season and joins Manchester for next season. These two were some of the bright young prospects in Serbian football. Zoran Tošić, who is nicknamed Bambi for his small stature is a promising midfielder/winger who is expected to rise and is touted to be replacement for ageing Ryan Giggs. On the other side, Adem is nicknamed “little Kaka” and he is apparently one of the best talents to come from Serbia.

Although there are only three players that currently play in the Premiership, they appear to have very important parts of their respective clubs. Time will tell if Ivanović and Tošić will rise to the dizzy height of Vidić’s success, but all the positive signs are there.

Serbian football in brief

In the recently finished Serbian football league (Jelen Super Liga Srbije), there was no room for surprises regarding the champions. Partizan Belgrade was the runaway leader for most of the season and they duly won the league with a few games to spare. They also won the Cup. In the final of the Lav Cup Of Serbia, they beat the surprise package of the competition, FC Sevojno, with a comfortable 3:0 score line. Sevojno caused a huge surprise by knocking out Serbian football giants Red Star Belgrade in the semi-final. This was Partizan’s second double in a row, since they won both the championship and the cup in the previous season too.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the continuing slump of once mighty Red Star Belgrade (winner of European Cup in 1991). The bad results just reflect the shambolic situation in the club’s administration along with mounting debts. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel, as recently the club has appointed a new President in ex-player Vladan Lukić. He quickly installed another ex-player and Red Star legend, Vladimir Petrović as the head coach. The next step is looking for a sponsor who would pump in the all important cash into the strapped club.

Other Sports

The domination of the Partizan Sports Club is not only evident in football. It is as successful in other sports too.

The basketball championship was dominated by Partizan, who strolled comfortably to the final, where they met arch-enemies Red Star Belgrade. The only surprise there was that the red-and-white of Red Star put on a brave display and Partizan needed 5 games to add the title to their display cabinets. They added the National Cup to the tally, as well as the title in the regional NLB League. The latter is the league that consists of teams from ex-Yugoslav republics and is considered to be one the strongest competitions in Europe. In the final of the NLB League, Partizan beat Croatian giants KK Cibona Zagreb.

The handball championship was also won by Partizan who beat Kolubara Lazarevac and Red Star Belgrade to it. Kolubara made their revenge by beating Partizan in the cup final.

Volleyball was the sport where Partizan was nowhere near the top and where teams from Belgrade are not a dominant force. The Championship was won by Radnički Kragujevac who beat Vojvodina Novi Sad in the final.


Nikola Zemun

Basketbalista Jan Veselý: V Partizanu chci ještì zùstat

V 16 odešel z Pøíbora hrát basketbal do slovinské Lublanì. Byl sám, bez rodiny, bez kamarádù. Netrvalo ale dlouho a Jan Veselý, který pøed mìsícem oslavil teprve 19. narozeniny, se stal oblíbencem fanouškù jednoho z nejlepších klubù starého kontinentu, Partizanu Bìlehrad. Na internetu ho jeden dokonce vybízel k pøestupu do srbské reprezentace. Bránil hvìzdy evropských celkù, které do té doby znal hlavnì v televizi. A úspìšnì, vždy i jeho zásluhou bojoval Partizan do poslední chvíle o postup do Final Four.

22. 6. 2009

Jak byste zhodnotil uplynulou sezónu? Byl jste pátý nejlepší hráč do 22 let v Eurolize, v domácí soutìži jste odehrál v prùmìru 19 minut za zápas. Počítal jste s tím, že se v první sezónì v Partizanu tak prosadíte?

Určitì ne. Šel jsem tam s tím, že budu rád, když se na palubovku dostanu na pìt minut. Dostal jsem ale šanci, zranil se nám jeden hráč, a trenér mì dal na køídlo.

Co na to øíkali spoluhráči, že osmnáctiletý mladík z Čech se stal jedním z dùležitých článkù týmu?
V Partizanu jsou všichni mladí, tam není problém se prosadit jako mladý hráč. Spoluhráči mì berou jako součást mužstva, v týmu není nìjaká rivalita.

Která část sezóny byla z vašeho pohledu lepší?

Myslím, že ta druhá, kdy jsem začal hrát, a ve které se poøádnì rozjela euroliga. V každém pøípadì to byla vydaøená sezóna, podaøilo se nám obhájit tøi trofeje, včetnì titulu v Jadranské lize a dostali jsme se opìt do euroligy.

Vzbudil váš výkon nìjaký ohlas mezi odborníky a trenéry na Balkánu? Zaznamenal jste zájem i zvenčí, vyptávají se na vás manažeøi?
O to se moc nezajímám. Asi ano, ale neøeším to, protože chci v Partizanu pár let zùstat. Smlouvu mám ještì na čtyøi roky.

Trenér vám dával dùvìru i v závìru utkání, což u tak mladého hráče nebývá obvyklé?

To je pravda, byl jsem tm na tu černou práci, doskočit nìjaký míč v útoku, obranì, ubránit nìjakého hráče. Na zakončování jsem se nìjak nedostal, uvidíme, co bude pøíští rok.

V 16 letech odešel do ciziny. Nebylo to brzo?
Nebylo, myslím, že v 18 by už bylo pozdì. Čím døív odejít nìkam jinam za lepším basketem, tím líp. V Česku jsem hrál juniorských kategoriích vrchol, byl to pro mì spíš trénink. A poradil bych to každému mladému hráči, a si to zkusí nìkde na Balkánì, protože tam jsou kvalitní mužstva a dávají mladým hráčùm pøíležitost.

Jaký nejvìtší problém jste musel v cizinì øešit?

Jazyk byl problém, zpočátku jsem moc nemluvil, pak jsem se bìhem roku naučil srbsky a ani mi nevìøili, že jsem Čech.

Kde jste víc doma, v Ostravì nebo Pøíboøe, kde bydlíte?
Tady v Pøíboøe. V Ostravì jsem sice vyrùstal basketbalovì, ale doma jsem tady.
Maminka volejbal, tatínek basketbal, takže jste mìl po kom zdìdit geny.

Co rozhodlo, že to není volejbal ale basketbal?

Tak rozhodovalo se mezi nimi, já hrál basket a mamka chtìla, abych hrál volejbal. Asi rozhodlo to, že v Pøíboøe volejbal není a vìnují se tady basketbalu.

Co dál? Ještì pár let chcete hrát v Partizanu, a co pak? Uvažujete o zámoøí?

Jestli se naskytne nabídka, tak určitì.

A máte nìjaký vysnìný klub v NBA?

Tam už je to jedno.

A v Evropì?

Panathinaikos, CSKA Moskva, Barcelona…

Máte nìjakou oblíbenou ligu v Evropì, která je vlastnì nejkvalitnìjší?

Není to o zemi, všude v Evropì je to myslím stejné, hraje se týmovì a rychle. Hodnì ale záleží na trenérovi.

Co chybí českému basketbalu aby se posunul výš? Jsou to peníze, o kterých se tak často mluví?

Penìz je tady myslím dost, když tady hrají Američané, Srbové, Slováci, Poláci. Spíš je to o trenérech, a navíc tady nedostávají tolik pøíležitostí mladí hráči.

V Bìlehradu je bouølivé publikum, nesvazuje takové prostøedí hráčùm ruce i nohy?

Tamní hala je diváky povìstná. Záleží na každém hráči, jak se s tím vyrovná. Já s tím mìl v prvních zápasech problémy, naštìstí jsem v nich nehrál a byl jen na lavičce. Když jsem nastoupil proti CSKA v první pìtce, tak to byla sranda, byl jsem trošku nervózní, ale jen na chvilku, pak už to šlo samo.

Basketbal je v Bìlehradu populární. Znají vás lidé?

Lidi tam basketem žijí, zastavují nás na ulicích. Jsem rád, že na zápasy chodí, ale radìji ani moc nechodím ven (úsmìv). Doma mám výhodu v tom, že mì lidi neznají, mám tady klid./QUOTE]
Jeste da je ovaj intervju radjen pre skoro godinu dana,ali koga ne zanima ne mora da cita. Radjen je u vreme slavlja prosle godine, pa evo intervjua sa Janom da se sutra veselimo i da slavimo!!!:s

Košarkaš Jan Veseli: u Partizanu hoću još da ostanem
Sa 16 je otišao iz Pribora da igra košarku u slovenačkoj Ljubljani. Bio je sam, bez porodice, bez prijatelja. Nije prošlo mnogo, a Jan Veseli, koji je pre mesec dana proslavio tek 19. rodjendan, postao je ljubimac navijača jednog od najboljih klubova starog kontinenta , Partizana Beograd. Na internetu ga je jedan od njih čak ohrabrivao da predje u srpsku reprezentaciju. Čuvao je zvezde evropskih ekipa koje je do tada znao uglavnom s televizije. I to uspešno, i njegovom zaslugom Partizan se borio do poslednjeg trenutka za ulazak u Final Four.
22. 6. 2009 15:35
Kako biste ocenili proteklu sezonu? Bili ste peti najbolji igrač do 22 godine u Evroligi, u domaćem takmičenju ste odigrali u proseku 19 minuta po utakmici. Računali ste s tim da ćete se u prvoj sezoni u Partizanu potvrditi na taj način?

Sigurno ne. Išao sam tamo s tim, da ću biti zadovoljan, ako na parket izadjem na pet minuta. Medjutim, dobio sam šansu, povredio nam se jedan igrač i trener me je stavio na krilo.

Šta su na to rekli saigrači, što je osamnaestogodišnji mladić iz Češke postao jedan od važnih članova tima?

U Partizanu su svi mladi, tamo nije problem promovisati se kao mlad igrač. Saigrači me smatraju članom ekipe, u timu nema rivaliteta.

Koji deo sezone je, po vašem mišljenju, bio bolji?

Mislim, drugi, kad sam počeo da igram i u kojoj se dobro razigrala euroliga. U svakom slučaju to je bila uspešna sezona, uspeli smo da osvojim tri trofeja, uključujući titulu u Jadranskoj ligi i ušli smo opet u evroligu.

Da li je vaša igra izazvala neke reakcije medju stručnjacima i trenerima na Balkanu? Izazvali ste interesovanje i napolju, da li se o vama raspituju menadžeri?

Za to se mnogo ne interesujem. I ako se zanimaju, ništa se neće rešiti, jer hoću da ostanem u Partizanu par godina. Ugovor imam na još četiri godine.

Trener vam je poklonio poverenje i u završnici takmičenja, što za tako mladog igrača nije baš uobičajeno?

To je istina, imao sam težak zadatak da dodam neku loptu u napadu, odbranu, čuvanje nekog igrača. Do završnice sam nekako dospeo, videću šta će biti sledeće godine.

Sa 16 godina otišao u inostranstvo. Zar to nije rano?

Nije, mislim da bi sa 18 već bilo kasno. Što pre se ode nekuda za boljom košarkom, to bolje. U Češkoj sam igrao u vrhunskim juniorskim kategorijama, a za mene je to pre bio trening. I savetovao bih to svakom mladom igraču, da pokuša negde na Balkanu, jer su tamo kvalitetne ekipe i daju priliku mladim igračima.

Koji je bio najveći problem koji ste morali da rešite u inostranstvu?

Jezik je bio problem, u početku nisam mnogo govorio, ali sam tokom godine naučio srpski tako da mi nisu verovali da sam Čeh.

Gde ste više kod kuće, u Ostravi ili Priboru, gde budete?

Ovde u Priboru. U Ostravi sam odrastao kao košarkaš, ali kod kuće sam ovde.

Mama odbojku, tata košarku, tako da ste imali od koga da nasledite gene. Šta je odlučilo da to ne bude odbojka nego košarka?

Odlučivalo se medju njima, ja sam igrao basket a mama je htela da igram odbojku. Valjda je odlučilo to što u Priboru nije bilo odbojke pa sam se posvetio košarci.

Šta dalje? Još par godina hoćete da igrate u Partizanu, a šta onda? Razmatrate odlazak preko okeana?

Ako dobijem ponudu, onda sigurno.

Imate li neki klub o kome sanjate u NBA?

Tamo je to svejedno.

A u Evropi?

Panathinaikos, CSKA Moskva, Barcelona…

Imate li neku omiljenu ligu u Evropi, koja je u stvari najkvalitetnija?

Ne zavisi to od zemlje, svuda u Evropi je to mislim isto, igra se timski i brzo. Mnogo zavisi i od trenera.

Šta nedostaje češkoj košarci da bi dostigla viši nivo? Da li je to novac, o kom se tako često govori?

Para i ovde mislim da ima dovoljno, kada ovde igraju Amerikanci, Srbi, Slovaci, Poljaci. Pre se radi o trenerima i tome što ovde mladi igrači ne dobijaju dovoljno prilike.

U Beogradu je žestoka publika, ne vezuje li takva sredina igračima ruke i noge?

Tamošnja hala je istorijska. Od svakog igrača zavisi kako će sa tim izaći na kraj. Ja sam s tim u prvim utakmicama imao problem, srećom na njima nisam igrao nego sam samo sedeo na klupi. Kad sam protiv CSKA ušao u prvu petorku, to je bio šou, bio sam malo nervozan, ali samo na trenutak, posle je sve krenulo samo.

Košaraka je u Beogradu popularna. Ljudi vas poznaju?

Ljudi tamo žive za košarku, zaustavljaju nas na ulici. Drago mi je da dolaze na utakmice, ali ja radije ne idem mnogo napolje (smeh). Kod kuće imam pogodnost u tome što me ljudi ne znaju, ovde imam mir.


Topèidera lepša strana

The Anatomy of an Underdog: Partizan Belgrade
by: Jonathan Givony - President

February 21, 2010
It’s another cold, rainy day in Serbia, and perennial Euroleague overachievers Partizan Belgrade are preparing to fight for yet another title, which they will eventually win, this time in the Serbian Cup.

No NBA scouts or (gasp!) journalists are ever allowed into the harrowed halls of Pionir Arena to watch head coach Dusko Vujosevic conduct practice, but somehow this American writer has been given access to take a rare behind the scenes look.

Armed to the teeth with 15 DVDs featuring every team in the D-League, an array of scouting reports of all the top players, as well as a list of the most intriguing talent coming out of the NCAA, this is a simple transaction benefiting both parties. It’s hardly a friendly exchange, though, and at no point do you feel particularly welcome in this setting—which makes sense considering that the team is in the midst of the most intense stretch of their season.

Pionir area doesn’t look like much on first glance. It’s a cold, box of a Soviet style structure, constructed some 40 years ago, and generally looking as such. The crowd sits right on top of the court, though, and the acoustics are simply amazing. As we saw a few days prior from attending the storied Belgrade derby between Red Star and Partizan, it’s an incredibly imposing building that acts as a fortress for its home team.

Partizan’s fan-base may be the most fanatic in the entire world, and is clearly a huge part of the team’s undeniable success. They are incredibly loud, obnoxious, loyal and organized, serenading the players and especially their beloved coach the entire game, and creating an unbelievable atmosphere that intimidates the referees and opposing team to the extent that the home team almost never loses.

Attending a game at Pionir arena is hardly for the faint of heart—the smoke makes it nearly impossible to breathe and coins and lighters regularly get thrown onto the court—but it’s an experience that every real basketball fan should go through at least once in their life.

Today the hall is mostly empty, as the team is getting ready for a game the following day.

40 long minutes are spent on rehearsing the team’s half-court offense, and the coach’s principles immediately sharpen into focus. Crisp ball-movement, bruising screens, constant motion, sharp cuts, precise spacing, timing and overall execution are worked on again and again, until Vujosevic is satisfied with the result.

Every miss must be cleaned up by an offensive rebound and put-back, and every successful play sees a round of applause from each member of the coaching staff and roster. When a player is performing up to expectations and comes out of the game for a breather, Vujosevic offers positive reinforcement with a high-five and a pat on the behind—not cold, nor distant about his approach, even if he’s obviously no push-over.

A series of claps and verbal cues (“hwop!”) let the players know when they are expected to cut, shoot, drive or pass. Everything is measured by the fraction of a second, and even the slightest hint of mistiming is simply unacceptable.

The team plays a slow, measured, disciplined European style, so timing is absolutely everything in their philosophy.

While all of this is taking place, a Russian ballet lesson is being conducted behind one of the baskets, complete with sweet classical music. The parallels that can be drawn between the heavily choreographed practices of the adolescent girls and the young basketball players are striking.

Judging by the level of concentration and intensity level, you would never guess that Partizan is preparing for a game the against a second division team mostly made up of B-level teenagers. The atmosphere at this practice is tense and incredibly serious, and the only voice that is heard over the course of two hours is that of their famed head coach, Dusko “Dule” Vujosevic.

Watching him hold court, you get the feeling that he is doing more teaching than coaching, often pulling players to the side and giving them quick private lessons in the fundamentals of the game. He rarely raises his voice, except for in some key, rare moments, which is surprising when watching how incredibly intense and often downright bizarre he acts on the sidelines in the actual games.

Somewhat of a cross between Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, Vujosevic controls everything that surrounds this club, earning him an unbelievable amount of respect in the European basketball world in the process.

Judging by his wardrobe, coaching style and overall demeanor, he appears to be an extremely modest, outspoken type who you either love or hate. Partizan supporters shower him with a constant stream of songs and applause, while other fan bases obviously despise him—nicknaming him the “fat pig” and constantly bemoaning the incredible amount of abuse he heaves on local referees and the advantages that may or may not provide him.

Not speaking more than a few words of English, and obviously being the heart and soul of this club, Vujosevic is probably here to stay for quite a while, despite the fact that his salary pales in comparison to his counterparts in top clubs across Europe.

As the practice progresses, suspicious glances in my direction abound, both from the players and assistant coaches. “No recording devices are allowed” one of the trainers informs me—a quite reasonable demand. Seeing me take notes on a legal pad he approaches again—“no drawing!” he requests– again, not an issue. A third foray in my direction sternly informs me that the coach prefers me not to take any notes, so put away that pen and paper. Halfway expecting to get frisked on the way out of practice, I nonetheless leave the facility feeling enlightened, with a big smile on my face.

One thing that no one can argue with is the club’s consistent success, in Serbia and the Adriatic League in particular, but on the European level as well. Partizan’s budget is a fraction of their counterparts in the Euroleague, and for the second straight season, the team is on its way to qualifying for the Top 8 stage, which is an incredible accomplishment. The global economic crisis has hit this country especially hard, as we heard many times over the course of our 11 days in Serbia.

Partizan’s highest paid player—Lawrence Roberts, makes less than some of the assistant coaches of the Panathinaikos team they defeated just a few weeks ago. Their actual budget is hidden behind a veil of secrecy like almost everything else surrounding this club, but most would guess that it’s between 5-10% of that of European powerhouses Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos or Barcelona.

Not having a powerful football club behind them (like the top Spanish teams) or a fabulously wealthy owner (like Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and formerly CSKA Moscow) to write blank checks, the team can’t just get by solely on hard work, toughness and execution—not at this level. They are forced to develop their own talent, and then sell it off to their rivals for the next season. The roster is made up of top-talent from the region and a legion of glossed-over prospects and castaways who failed in other places.

The team’s starting center, Aleks Maric, was an anonymous backup on a mid-level team in Spain last year, but is now clearly the most productive big man in the Euroleague, drawing him some strong looks from the NBA in turn.

His backup, 7-5 Slavko Vranes was a laughing stock after being drafted by the New York Knicks in 2003 and then quickly discarded, only to become an average backup on a middling team from Montenegro. He’s become an incredibly useful player in Partizan’s system, despite sporting some very obvious flaws.

Backup point guard Aleksander Rasic is another perfect example. Having grown up with cross-town rivals FMP Zeleznik and considered a can’t miss star early in his career, he was sold to Turkish powerhouse team Efes Pilsen, and then migrated around Europe to places like Russia and Germany trying to find to find his place. He’s a key cog of Partizan’s rotation now, having regained his confidence and finally capitalizing on much of the promise he showed as a youngster.

All this development doesn’t come without a great cost, though. Just over the last two years Partizan has lost the likes of Nikola Pekovic (Panathinaikos), Novica Velickovic (Real Madrid), Milenko Tepic(Panathinaikos) and to a lesser extent Uros Tripkovic (DKV Joventut)—all incredibly important contributors— but continue to churn along as if nothing happened. The buyout money the team receives from selling off their top players year after year makes up a large part of their budget for the following season—a vicious cycle to say the least.

Partizan has a reputation for being an outstanding stepping stone for Americans as well, as current roster members Bo McCalebb and Lawrence Roberts are quickly finding out. Most top-European teams wouldn’t dare touch players like Milt Palacio and Stephene Lasme in the summer of 2008 due to their glaring flaws on the offensive end. One year under Vujosevic in Belgrade helped Palacio multiply his salary ten-fold in the form of an incredible 2-year, 3 million Euro contract in Russia. Lasme is now in Maccabi Tel Aviv himself, a much better player and far better off financially.

Watching the team practice and play numerous times over the course of our time in Serbia helped us understand Partizan’s incredible success much more thoroughly.

One clear reason the team continues to win appears to be its approach to its strength and conditioning program. The team plays an incredibly physical brand of basketball, setting an array of bruising screens on every possession, competing in an unbelievable way defensively, and just trying to out-tough and outwork their opponents to compensate for their relative lack of talent. Judging by the way their bodies look and the shape they are in, the players must spend a great deal of time working in the weight room.

Even a minor injury to one of Partizan’s star players can be devastating to their chances in the array of competitions (Euroleague, Adriatic League, Serbian League, the Serbian Cup) they compete in considering their thin rotation. An inordinate time—about 20 minutes—was spent on stretching before the roster scrimmaged against each other. During the games you often see a group of players stretching behind the bench for an extended period before being subbed in. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it’s just another small thing that distinguishes Partizan from other clubs we’ve visited and studied.

A perfect example here of the results of this philosophy would be Lawrence Roberts, often injured over the last few years with nagging knee issues and criticized throughout his career for not being serious enough about his conditioning. He appears to be in the best shape of his life at the moment (mentally and physically), looking lean and chiseled, focused and intense, rebounding, defending and shooting from the perimeter like never before, and having a career year in turn.

Another reason for Partizan’s success likely revolves around the amount of freedom Vujosevic affords his pupils. While the coach demands an incredible amount of discipline and execution from his players, he also develops their skill-level at the same time and wants them to make use of it during games.

Most of the top teams in European basketball expect their players to be finished products on arrival and ready to produce immediately—they pay them enormous amounts of money after all and expect consistent results every week in return, or else…

Partizan obviously can’t compete with them from a financial standpoint, so Vujosevic must find players with the basic physical attributes and skill-set needed to fit his system, and then mold them to play the way he wants.

A great example of Vujosevic’s dedication to player development is our trip’s main focus, 6-11, and now top NBA draft prospect, Jan Vesely. A super athlete from the Czech Republic who did not receive a great deal of high-level coaching earlier in his career, Vujosevic nonetheless had the foresight to elect to develop him as a small forward rather than as a power forward when he arrived here two summers ago, despite the fact that he couldn’t really shoot or dribble at that time, and was severely lacking in the fundamentals department.

Fast forward to today, and the results are astounding—the 19-year old Vesley is a huge part of their defensive philosophy--an active and aggressive style of pressure defense in the half-court, mixed in with spurts of trapping and pressing--which suits Vesey perfectly with his fantastic physical tools. He’s made incredible strides on the offensive end as well, sprinting the floor like a deer in transition and regularly beating opposing players down the court, crashing the offensive glass extremely well, and becoming an increasingly respectable 3-point threat and ball-handler, looking incredibly comfortable in his own skin.

Vesely’s development has culminated in two outstanding performances at the highest level of European basketball this month—13 points, 6 rebounds in a shocking road victory over Euroleague defending champions Panathinaikos, and then following that up with 13 points and 15 rebounds in a win over title favorites Barcelona, their first loss of the season in that competition.

How far can Vujosevic and Partizan take this fairytale season? European basketball fans around the continent are hoping they can somehow miraculously advance to the Final Four in Paris. After all, the Serbian basketball school is (along with Spain and Lithuania) arguably the most influential on this side of the ocean when looking at the quantity and quality of players and coaches it produces. Having a team that actually develops its own talent reach the highest level of its competition would be great for everyone involved.
Najava Flavija Trankila za EL sajt :

Among the four teams that are one win away from Paris, Partizan is the most amazing story. They eliminated Panathinaikos in the Top 16, then took a 2-1 lead in these playoffs by winning Game 1 in Tel Aviv and Game 3 in Belgrade. These two mere facts would be enough to make the season unforgettable, to say the least. But the best part of the story is that this not happening by accident. It takes work and ability to do this, and it's exactly what the club has put into this thing. Game 4 will be what you called a big event. Basketball is a religion in Belgrade and Tel Aviv, and the history these two teams bring to the parquet every time they take the floor is really an important part of this rivalry. Watch out for a Gershon-coached team in a an elimination game in front of 20-something-thousand fans. Pini will definitely play the us-against-the-world card, instilling a bunker mentality in his players. Also, after three very physical games, this is gonna depend on energy. As many as 11 Partizan players have played significant minutes in the series, proof of the platoon system Dule Vujosevic uses with great effectiveness. The shorter Maccabi rotation definitely does not prevent them from having a lot of chances in the series, but it still might be a factor. Everything counts here!
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Topèidera lepša strana
Riding a wave of fanatic fans who epitomize what makes European basketball unique, Partizan Belgrade has made it to a Final Four for the first time since 1998. Great work over a several years paid off this season with the club's third consecutive Quarterfinal Playoffs berth, and this time Partizan made the most of the opportunity. Although Partizan heads to Paris as an underdog, it is also the only Final Four team to have beaten two of the other semifinalists. That's not to mention the fact that Partizan eliminated two teams, Panathinaikos and Maccabi, who won four of the last six Euroleague titles. It has been a long time since Partizan lifted its only continental title trophy, in 1992, but legendary head coach Dusko Vujosevic and his versatile, enthusiastic roster are ready to try again.


Just as happens almost every off-season, Partizan lost some of its best players in the summer market, but again found a way to reload its roster and stay fully competitive. Partizan brought back Dusan Kecman after he had won the Euroleague title with Panathinaikos, added size and power in big man Aleks Maric, who came off a quiet season in Spain, and made Bo McCalebb a last-second addition a week before the start of the Euroleague season. Players like Aleksandar Rasic, Slavko Vranes and Jan Vesely would have to step up and make the best of extended playing time, too. The Euroleague American Tour helped Partizan jell in the pre-season, with benefits that Vujosevic saw ahead of time for a new group. "This is a great experience for our young players," Vujosevic said at the time. "The positive effects on the our team will be seen not just after we get back home, but also at the important moments of the season."


Partizan, however, did not have a strong start to the new Euroleague season, which it opened with consecutive losses. Unicaja stole a 64-72 road win in Belgrade and Efes downed Partizan 77-67 in Istanbul. Partizan bounced back with a 78-71 home win against Entente Orleanaise behind 18 points and 9 rebounds from Maric. A 22-point road loss against Lietuvos Rytas saw Partizan drop to 1-3 right before hosting mighty Olympiacos. Backed by an incredible crowd, Partizan rejoined the Top 16 race with an already-critical 86-80 victory behind 25 points from Rasic. Maric stayed on fire with 23 points and 15 rebounds and McCalebb was showing signs of becoming one of the best newcomers in the Euroleague.

"Hope is a real thing. We managed to get back our self-confidence and a good atmosphere on our team," Vujosevic said after the game. "Thanks to our great fans. They were driving us emotionally."

Once captain Petar Bozic returned from injury, Partizan was able to play twin point guards at any time, finding better options for Maric down low and opening the court for Vesely, one of the best cutters in the game. It all paid off in Malaga with a 64-72 road win against Unicaja behind 16 points and 10 rebounds from Kecman. Next, Partizan improved to 4-3 with its third consecutive win by edging Efes Pilsen 93-92 on a game-winning shot by Kecman after Maric simply took over the game with 34 points on 13-of-16 two-pointers and 16 rebounds, good for the highest performance index ranking of the entire Euroleague season - 49. Despite a road loss against Orleans, Partizan roared into the Top 16 by overwhelming direct rival Lietuvos Rytas 97-67 at home in the regular season's next-to-last game. Maric, who had been chosen as the Sportingbet December MVP, got injured early in the game and had to be sidelined for a month. Partizan would be without its most dangerous player for the better part of the Top 16, but it would not be denied making it there.

"With this win we marked a successful end to the first part of the season. All that we planned before the game we did on the court," Bozic said after beating L. Rytas. "I am extremely happy because we reached the Top 16 one game before the end of the Euroleague regular season."

TOP 16

Partizan entered a Top 16 group that featured reigning Euroleague champion Panathinaikos and still undefeated powerhouse Regal FC Barcelona. Far from being intimidated, Partizan opened the Top 16 with a huge 59-74 upset road win against Panathinaikos in Athens. Jan Vesely paced Partizan with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Then, to add shock to surprise, Partizan became the Group E leader with a 67-66 overtime home win against Barcelona, which had seemed unstoppable until then. Once again Vesely shined with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Rasic made clutch free throws in the final seconds and after a long video replay by the referees, a buzzer-beating shot try by Barcelona was ruled no good, setting off wild celebrations in Belgrade.

"We tried to give our maximum. This is a fantastic record, 2-0 after two Top 16 games," Rasic said. "Our fans were like never before. It was not easy to play 45 minutes with a team like Barca, one of best teams in Europe at the moment."

Next, Partizan split wins with Maroussi, which meant it needed to copy the Greek team's results in the final 2 games in order to advance. A 79-76 home win against Maroussi behind 20 points from McCalebb allowed Partizan to open the playoff door for the third consecutive season. Maroussi went on to lose its last two games. Even when Maric was back in action, Partizan ended the Top 16 with back-to-back losses against Panathinaikos and Barcelona but its 3-3 record was enough to advance, as the Greens downed Maroussi on the final day.

"We are happy like never before after a loss because we are going to the quarterfinals again," Bozic said. "It's great to be among the best eight teams in Europe, but our ambitions don't stop there. We are going to try to make one more step and reach the Final Four in Paris."


Partizan didn't have the homecourt advantage in the best-of-five series against Maccabi Electra, so it needed to register a road win in order to take advantage later of its home games being moved for the series to the already sold-out 20,000-seat Belgrade Arena. Maccabi fans in Tel Avi could only gape in shock, too, as Kecman fired in 7-of-9 three-pointers on his way to 29 points as Partizan rallied from 21 points behind to steal a 77-85 road win in Game 1. Kecman was Playoffs Game 1 MVP in more ways than just his index rating of 30. With one magic half, he had led his teammates to turn the homecourt advantage in Partizan's favor. Maccabi bounced back for a convincing 98-78 home win in Game 2, but the damage was done already - Partizan would play twice in front of its fans.

"It doesn't matter how I played, what matters is that we won the game," Kecman said after Game 1. "It's a big win for us and I believe we can win more games against Maccabi. We had more and more confidence as the minutes went by, and that helped us make the difference."

With over 20,000 chanting and signing fans inside and thousands others supporting the team all around the city, Partizan used an extraordinary game-night atmosphere in Belgrade to keep its good momentum going in Game 3. Partizan downed Maccabi 81-73 to get a 2-1 lead in the series. McCalebb led the winners with 18 points as Partizan moved to within a victory of its first Final Four appearance in 12 years. It was a unique chance for the Serbian League champs and everyone understood it. Just 48 hours later, with another unbelievable crowd backing the team, Partizan downed Maccabi 76-67 in Game 4 to win the series 3-1. McCalebb led the winners with 19 points and Kecman added 12 in a truly unforgettable game for all Partizan fans. Amazingly, Vujosevic returned to the Final Four as Partizan's coach 22 years after their first one together, in 1988.

"This is something you wait a lifetime for," Maric said. "It was a tough game physically and psychologically, but we won with heart, with five players on the court and with our fans."


It is ironic that Final Four experience on Partizan's roster is limited to Kecman, who helped knock out his old team, Panathinaikos, to become the only player still able to defend last season's Euroleague title. The larger experience belongs to Coach Vujosevic, who managed to combine well-rounded veterans with up-and-coming talents, making the team play up to its limits - and possibly beyond - with his own ability to read games and use his team's versatility. Partizan can use an incredibly tall lineup with Vesely at small forward and Vranes at center or play very dynamic basketball with Rasic and McCalebb together in the backcourt. Partizan's ability to find great players out of nowhere is exemplified again by Maric, who went from a backup on a mid-level Spanish team to one of the most promising big men in Europe. Expect Vujosevic to have enough tactical surprises ready to allow Partizan fans to keep dreaming in the perfect place to do so, Paris.



Partizan leave HJK on the brink

Published: Wednesday 28 July 2010, 21.45CET
FK Partizan 3-0 HJK Helsinki
Goals from Ivica Iliev, Saša Ilić and Cléo have given HJK a mammoth task ahead of next week's return.
by Ivan Vjetrović
from FK Partizan Stadium

Saša Ilić celebrates after doubling Partizan's lead ©FK Partizan

Published: Wednesday 28 July 2010, 21.45CET
Partizan leave HJK on the brink

FK Partizan 3-0 HJK Helsinki

Goals from Ivica Iliev, Saša Ilić and Cléo have given HJK a mammoth task ahead of next week's return.
Read more

FK Partizan took a firm grip on their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against HJK Helsinki thanks to a comfortable 3-0 win in Belgrade.
Ivica Iliev's early strike and an effort from Saša Ilić three minutes before the break gave Aleksandar Stanojević's team a two-goal lead at half-time. HJK squandered a great chance to level when substitute Akseli Pelvas failed to punish an error by goalkeeper Radiša Ilić, and were duly given a greater mountain to climb in next week's return by Cléo's strike in added time.
Iliev gave Partizan an eighth-minute lead following Radosav Petrović's searching pass, and was then denied by goalkeeper Ville Wallén after weaving his way inside from the left. However, Wallén's failure to cleanly gather Nemanja Tomić's left-wing cross three minutes before the interval would prove costly as Ilić pounced from close range to double Partizan's advantage.
A hitherto muted presence in attack, HJK threatened for the first time when substitute Jarno Parikka directed Rafinha's delivery over the crossbar seven minutes into the second half. Partizan responded with Cléo heading Aleksandar Lazevski's centre wide before Pelvas, another replacement, passed up HJK's big chance. Cléo made the Finnish club pay in the second minute of added time, receiving Lazevski's pass on the edge of the area and beating Wallén with a shot which dipped under the crossbar.


A dose of confidence
Dusan Kecman - Partizan

Good day to all you Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans out there, for the second time (-;

The fourth week of the Euroleague is completed, and I won't be the first one to say that it has certainly been quite an interesting season so far. Above all, it has been full of surprises. Probably the most positive surprise for now has to be the great play and the position in the standings of Union Olimpija Ljubljana. To see them win their first three games was certainly unexpected, not just by me, but by a lot of people. And now that they are 3-1, it has certainly changed the way we look at Group D compared to before the season. On the other hand, what has been equally surprising in a negative way is the poor start of CSKA Moscow, which has a 1-3 record in the same group, but of course was the team to stop Olimpija's win streak last week. There is no counting out CSKA, ever, as everyone knows. Of course, this is just the beginning of the season still, in many ways. We all have to play six more games in the regular season, and it goes without saying that until most and maybe all of those games are played, things will be wide open. That is precisely one of the things that makes the Euroleague so interesting throughout an entire season: you never know what teams will surprise you.

Regarding my team, Partizan, last week we succeeded in taking a big road win at Asseco Prokom in Poland. Believe me, that is a very important victory for this young and new team. After our previous week's letdown and lost game against Maccabi, we needed just such an accomplishment like winning in Poland to get ourselves back on the right path, both in the way we play and the way we approach the Euroleague challenge of fighting every week. Each road win is very important, not just in the standings, but also because it gives the team a dose of confidence and sureness. Our group will certainly be among the uncertain ones until the end, because there are plenty of teams tied, as you can see by the standings, and plenty of close games, as you can see by the results.

Now we are facing a very difficult game against Caja Laboral on Wednesday at our home court, Hala Pionir. The Spanish champions will certainly come highly motivated in order to win, because they have lost two games in a row. Anyone who knows that club can tell you that it's truly rare to see them lose twice consecutively, especially in the regular season, so that's just more proof of how tough our group is and how unpredictable this season has been so far. Caja Laboral is for sure one of top-quality teams in the entire Euroleague and presents a big challenge for us - but one we are ready to tackle. We need to stay calm and to give a hundred percent of our strength and concentration. If we do that first, then we'll can see how we compete.

Well, I hope I was not too short this time, since I can tell you that I have typed this blog faster than the first one - you know what they say, practice makes perfect! Finally, I want to say thanks for the enormous support of our fans, best known as Grobari. That support means a lot to this young and new team of ours. Best regards to all who read this blog, and of course, all those who follow and watch the Euroleague.
Dusan Kecman - Belgrade
Monday, November 15, 2010


Topèidera lepša strana
In Moscow, what-if questions linger
I don’t think there’s too much debate over deciding which was the biggest news of the past week in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. CSKA’s loss in Milan and its consequence, the firing of head coach Dusko Vujosevic, certainly deserves the honor. I have the privilege to know Dule Vujosevic, an outstanding coach and an even better human being, since his days in my country, where he went through success and failure, just like any coach on the planet. I always will remember the light in the eyes of the late Davide Ancilotto, a wonderful talent who prematurely died in 1997 after an on-court seizure, while talking about his mentor in Pistoia. It was Dule who gave Davide room and freedom to express himself on the court, it was Dule who rode Davide’s tail endlessly and unmercifully during long and exhausting practices, and it was Dule that Davide literally adored, despite the many outbursts on the court and the repeated run-ins between two very strong characters. I also think that Sasha Danilovic recounted in a book that Dule went to his house to physically beat him up badly to correct some habits he did not like. And that, not surprisingly to me, sealed a friendship and relationship that in the end produced Partizan’s miracle last season. What I am saying is that to really be himself, Dule needs to use his unorthodox methods, perhaps with people not always understanding the reasons behind the apparent madness. And those methods can be exceptional ones when things go right, and bad when things go wrong.

Going back to the Milan game, there’s no way to escape the fact that CSKA wasn’t CSKA and Dule wasn’t Dule. That was way too apparent on the court. Not that I want to take any credit away from the very good job injury-depleted Armani Jeans did. They showed a lot of resolve, falling behind 5-16 against a much bigger and deeper opponent and being resilient enough not to get discouraged and coming back to win the game thanks to a great fourth quarter by Ibby Jaaber. Having said that, having remembered the injuries CSKA suffered and having taken into consideration the necessary adjustments to a new coach and his system, there was still something not working in Moscow and blatantly so. Watching the whole thing from the outside makes the task of distributing responsibilities really tough. I could generally say that everybody contributed something to this monumental underachievement, from the players to the coach to the club. But that would be, indeed, general stuff. In the aforementioned condition, being on the outside looking in, I’d be also tempted to say that Dule works much better with youngsters and players in-the-making as opposed to established veterans. Or I could go even deeper with this, saying that if you pick him to coach your team, you should know it takes time to translate work in the gym into victories.

Watch what happened in Belgrade, where past teams with good talents did not necessarily have the same amount of success Partizan had last season, when the black-and-white came within one single play from making it to the Euroleague championship game. It was just a thing of beauty to see how consistent Partizan was last season, playing hard as a team and by doing so knocking out great teams on the way to Paris. CSKA, in these couple of months, never showed that kind of coherence. Which is not to say Vujosevic can only coach young teams or was a different coach just because he was working in a different city. That would be putting a label on someone, something I’m not particularly fond of. It is true, on the contrary, that it’s not necessarily about being a good or bad coach. It’s about being the right coach in the right situation, and by that I mean the whole context a coach is working in. Matching up the players, the coach and the club, in terms of basketball and personalities, is a high-margin-of-error process. It was crystal clear the process was going nowhere fast for CSKA and Vujosevic, at least judging by these six games. Nobody can answer the "what-if" question about what could have happened with a little more wins and a little less pressure, or with fewer injuries and a little more time. It is what it is, but I remain convinced that CSKA has a great roster and Vujosevic is a hell of a coach (and human being too, like I said). Sometimes, it’s just that good and good add up to pretty bad. It’s the nature of the beast and, unless you are one of the parties involved, one reason that this mystery we call basketball is so fascinating.
DATE: Monday, November 29, 2010

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