The 7DAYS EuroCup Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season is Sasa Obradovic of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar.
Euroleague Basketball’s in-house experts chose Obradovic from the many deserving candidates after he led Lokomotiv to an unprecedented 20-0 start to the campaign while instilling in his players the will to be one of the best defensive forces the competition has ever seen.
Obradovic has helped Lokomotiv make history by bringing his team to the EuroCup Finals undefeated – a first. Lokomotiv’s 20-0 record ties the longest overall winning streak in competition history, which Lokomotiv had previously set from 2013 to 2015.
This season, Lokomotiv beat three playoffs teams twice each – Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, Herbalife Gran Canaria and Buducnost VOLI Podgorica – and has the best defensive numbers in the EuroCup in both points and shooting percentages allowed to its opponents. With his team’s efforts to rewrite the record books still in progress, Coach Obradovic is a more than deserving choice for 2017-18 7DAYS EuroCup Coach of the Year.
This season, Obradovic has turned Lokomotiv into a winning machine with outstanding defence and a patient, organized offence in which a lot of players feel important. Lokomotiv has held opponents to 68.7 points per game until now, fewer than team’s defence has allowed in the EuroCup since 2015.
Lokomotiv let other teams hit just 46.3% of their two-point and 29% of their three-point shots – both of which are lows in the competition. It ranks second in defensive rebounds (26.1 per game) and seventh in blocks (2.7), as well. Lokomotiv has a balanced offence, with nine of its players average between 6 and 12 points for a team average of 82.7 points on 55.3% shooting from inside and 37.6% from outside the three-point line.
As a result of its great efficiency at both ends of the floor, Lokomotiv is on track to either become the EuroCup’s first unbeaten champion or finish the season with the competition’s best record ever. The previous best record was by Lokomotiv’s 2014-15 team, which went 19-1 without winning the title. In 2008, DKV Joventut Badalona went 18-1 on the way to lifting the trophy. Now, Lokomotiv is attempting to win its second EuroCup title and to do so in gold letters.
Obradovic already earned his name in basketball history as a player, having led ALBA Berlin to its only European trophy, the Korac Cup, in 1995, and lifting the German League title in 1997. He won two Yugoslavian League titles with Crvena Zvezda Belgrade and a third with Buducnost Podgorica.
Obradovic also won three EuroBasket titles, lifted the 1998 FIBA World Cup trophy, and the 1996 Olympic silver medal with the Yugoslav national team. He started his coaching career with RheinEnergie Koeln, which he led to a German Cup trophy in 2006 and the German League title in 2007. He went on to coach PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland, as well as Kyiv and Donetsk of Ukraine.
He led Donetsk to the Ukrainian League title in 2011. Obradovic also won German Cup titles with ALBA Berlin in 2013, 2014 and 2016. This season, he has already taken the Russian Cup with Lokomotiv. Obradovic is also making his way up the ranks of EuroCup coaches, where he has a career record of 71-33 in his seventh season for a winning rate of 68.3%. Now, Obradovic will have a Coach of the Year Trophy to proudly display as a reward for his team’s perfect season going into the EuroCup Finals.
Obradovic becomes the 10th winner of the annual Coach of the Year award, which was introduced prior to the 2008-09 season. The previous winners were Oktay Mahmuti of Benetton Basket in 2009, Ilias Zouros of Panellinios in 2010, Aleksandar Petrovic of Cedevita Zagreb in 2011, Jure Zdovc of Spartak St. Petersburg in 2012, Fotis Katsikaris of Uxue Bilbao Basket in 2013, Andrea Trinchieri of Unics Kazan in 2014, Aito Garcia Reneses of Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas in 2015, Maurizio Buscaglia of Dolomiti Energia Trento in 2016 and Pedro Martinez of Valencia Basket last season.