Dusko Ivanovic completely changed the face of Baskonia

Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz is the hottest team currently in the EuroLeague and the main factor behind their incredible run of positive results is their coach Dusko Ivanovic, probably the most successful coach in the Basque club’s history.

Baskonia entered the season with Joan Penarroya at the helm. He coached the team last season too and the results were not bad at all, as the team from Vitoria finished the EuroLeague with a positive record and almost reached the playoffs, finishing the regular season 9th in the standings. Also in the ACB League, they finished the regular season in 2nd place, but then they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Joventut Badalona. The management did not have any reasons not to trust Penarroya, but at the start of this season, things did not work out for the red-blue-white team. The 1-4 record to start the EuroLeague season required a change and usually, the coach is the one sacrificed in these situations. Penarroya was replaced by Dusko Ivanovic (who had just been fired by Crvena Zvezda a few days earlier) and he turned things around immediately.

Since Ivanovic took over Baskonia won 7 games out of 8 in the EuroLeague, beating powerhouses like Partizan, Olympiacos in Piraeus, Barcelona, and Fenerbahce and the only defeat was by 2 points against Monaco. Statistically, the team excels in three-pointers made (2nd in the EuroLeague) and total rebounds (2nd in the EuroLeague). Also, players like Chima Moneke and Markus Howard have had exceptional seasons individually under the guidance of the Montenegrin coach. Moneke is currently 4th in PIR in the entire EuroLeague, while Howard is the 2nd best scorer in the league behind Mike James, with an average of 18.5 points per game.

Ivanovic is known to be a very tough and demanding coach, but he usually delivers results. He took over Crvena Zvezda last year in November and just like now the results of the team improved dramatically and the Serbian team almost made the playoffs. Now he turned things around very fast in Vitoria and the way they are playing now the Spanish team can be considered a Final Four contender.

Of course, Ivanovic is already considered to be a legend in Vitoria. In his previous three stints with the club he won the ACB title three times, the Spanish Cup three times, the SuperCup once and he led the team to the EuroLeague Final twice. Now he wants to add to his legacy and achieve success in his fourth stint.

Photo: EuroLeague

Imre Halasz