By Lefteris Moutis/ email@example.com
How can a team with such big deficiencies and a clearly weak roster release a key player and two days later win inside the home of one of the favorites for the Final Four of the Euroleague? Cedevita and Veljko Mrsic know!
Cedevita’s win over Efes in Istanbul was one of the biggest surprises of the season and the hidden secret behind this success was the departure of a player from the Croats’ roster.
The Croatian team started out the season aiming to have a decent run in the Euroleague and to get as far as possible in the Adriatic league. They had a promising start to the season (four wins in a total of five games in the Adriatic league), but then weren’t as good with four defeats in a row in all competitions.
Tomislav Zubcic’s course was similar in his third season with the team. However, for disciplinary reasons (at least, as it was circulated in Croatia) Mrsic decided to leave him out of team training and a few days before the game with Efes he left him out of the team for good by terminating his contract.
In fact, the absence of the experienced Luka Zoric left Miro Bilan alone in the frontline alongside the 19-year-old Marko Arapovic. However, according to Eurohoops, Bilan emerged as the MVP of the week with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and showed that, sometimes, such decisions can help instead of create problems for a team.
Cedevita defeated Efes but, of course, they now have to foster the 19-year-old Arapovic or else acquire another big man to strengthen their frontline.