Credit: euroleague.net
Credit euroleague.net

After the passing of legendary coach Dusan Ivkovic, the European basketball community and his former players paid their respects to the Serbian basketball specialist and shared stories about playing under him.

Matt Janning, who played for Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the 2014-15 season with Ivkovic coaching the team, talked about only having great memories of working with "Duda":

"I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of coach Duda. I had the pleasure of playing for him in Efes. We reached the Euroleague playoffs, won the Turkish Cup, and played the final in Turkey that year. Some truly great moments together, and I thank him for helping me grow as a basketball player and as a person."

BasketNews talked to Martynas Gecevicius, who played under Ivkovic in the 2011-12 season in Olympiacos Piraeus and led the team to a EuroLeague title. Gecevicius considers Ivkovic one of the most memorable basketball specialists he's had the pleasure of working with during his entire career.

"Memories of Dusan are only the best. He was one of the most memorable personalities in my career. I won both the Greek League and the EuroLeague with him. He taught me a lot both as a person and as a coach - an incredible personality.

Ivkovic is undoubtedly one of the coaches who has contributed the most to my career. He was a real teacher and was able to unite many different personalities. He didn't just look at basketball but provided life advice too."

Gecevicius also talked about how Ivkovic was an incredible psychologist that knew how to get his point across. Sometimes he would be very harsh, but the strategist also knew when to show a warmer side of him.

"He's the greatest coach-psychologist I've ever seen," Gecevicius revealed. "Dusan knew who to talk to more gently and who to be stricter with. Even Vasilis Spanoulis got his share of criticism. When we were playing badly, he would only yell at Spanoulis because it was obvious that if he was being criticized, we were all playing like s**t.

There is nothing more memorable than Dusan’s screams at Spanoulis during breaks. After that, our game changed immediately. And once the match was over, he did not lack a sense of humor, danced on the table, and sang after title wins. After we won the EuroLeague, he approached everyone and talked to their families separately. A very warm personality and an impressive person."

President, Chairman, and CEO of EuroLeague Basketball, Jordi Bertomeu, touched on Ivkovic's impact on European basketball and his success.

"It is no exaggeration to say that Duda impacted European basketball as much as any coach ever, growing up in one of the cradles of the sport, Belgrade, and taking many teams to the heights of success," Bertomeu said.

Ivkovic's funeral will be next Tuesday, noon Serbian time. A commemorative gathering will be held on Monday at 16:00 local time in the Serbian parliament.

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