By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Dusan Ivkovic announced his decision to retire from coaching leaving behind him a great legacy. And this legacy is not only counted by titles, but what some of the biggest European players have to say about him.
Apart from being a professor of baskeball with countless students over the years, the Serbian coach was also quite famous for his temper. A character feature that, after all, many greats possess.
Eurohoops contacted seven of the players who worked with him in various stages of his career and asked them to say something about “Duda”. From Dino Radja and Zarko Paspalj to Cedi Osman who played under him until recently in Anadolu Efes, here’s what those three distinguished gents and also Sasha Djordjevic, Milos Teodosic, Giorgos Printezis and Vasilis Spanoulis had to say about him.
Dino Radja: “A patriarch”
“He was great, he was a patriarch, he got my respect in the national team where I played under him. We had a really good relationship and because I was young, he had to steer me to the right direction. Τhere was some fighting sometimes but he was always a great authority in the team. He was on the same time tough and friendly. It was a great experience playing for him.”
Zarko Paspalj: “He wasn’t just our coach. He was truly interested for us”
“We have gone through a lot, especially in the Serbian national team and in the difficult 1995. It was a very pleasant cooperation I had with him. We entered the team young, there had been changes since 1987 and then under Duda’s guidance it became much more easier to see how a system that is called “Yugoslavian national team” works. No matter how difficult it was, it was also pleasant. When you know the routine that the coach asks from you, then it all becomes easier. Of course, good results came as well. He was a great teacher. He helped us do what we should do. These relations are not simply between a player and a coach. We are good friends now. Our lives and careers were different of course. I had the chance to play in Panionios and have him as a head coach there, as well.”
There are many anecdote stories I remember. With Dusan, there have been a lot. I don’t want to speak about these. He wasn’t only a coach, he was truly interested for us. He helped us, and no matter how difficult he was when it came to listening to someone else, if you had some things to say that would truly help the team, he would hear you.”
Alexander Djordjevic: “His life is the foundation for my life on the court”
“His whole life is a lesson for me. He is the only one who have won a title in every competition he is been part of. He couldn’t win only in the NBA. He helped us a lot, the whole Serbian basketball and specially me. He is my absolute teacher. His life and everything he has said to me is the foundation for my life on the court. I can’t just pick one of his quotes, because everything he says it’s wise”.
Μilos Teodosic: “A big ‘thank you'”
“He was one of the first coaches who really trusted me. In the most important period of my career, I was happy to have Duda as a coach. What else can I say? I have a great relationship with him and I am really proud, happy and lucky that I had him on the bench. I learned so many things from him. I just want to say a big “thank you” to him for everything he did for me”.
Giorgos Printezis: “Let’s not…. f$@# it!”
“Duda was a great teacher for all of us. I specifically remember something the told me. It was from the first or second Euroleague quarterfinal against Siena in 2011. I have attempted a step up three-pointer and at halftime, Ivkovic turns his head and says to me: ‘Have I ever told you anything my boy? Have I prohibited you to take shots? Haven’t I given you the freedom to do anything you want? But not a pull-up, step-back three-pointer! Let’s not f#$@@#it!”
Vassilis Spanoulis: “An emblematic presence”
“We are connected by great and respect from each other. Especially from me to him. We had an excellent cooperation in Olympiacos and lived some magical moments when we won the Euroleague and Greek Basket League in 2012. I still retain a very good relationship with him. Surely, his emblematic presence will be forever in basketball. He was a coach-symbol of European basketball. I can’t remember a specific quote… he was a guy of many quotes! He is a coach who has produce many many players, who trusted young guys and helped us a lot. Anything I say will be small.”
Cedi Osman: “Very lucky to work with him”
“I was very lucky to work with him for two years. I learned a lot of things from him, I got a lot of experience from him. The most important thing for me is that he believed a lot on me, like he always did with young players. He trusted me, he was talking to me all the time, helping me any way possible. I am very happy that I had the chance to work with him”.