Credit: FIBA Media
Credit FIBA Media

AEK Athens coach Stefanos Dedas spoke to Israeli outlet "Sportswalla" about the death of Stevan Jelovac, recounting the timeline and the incidents that transpired on and after November 14, when the deceased athlete suffered a stroke while exercising and was transferred to the hospital.

Free throws this season

Points made: 14,0
Accuracy: 73,7%
Place in standings: 13
Record max: 19
Record min: 10
Most made FTs: Nikos Pappas

Dedas explained that Jelovac was receiving treatment for his ankle injury at the time, emphasizing that AEK players and staff began to come to terms with the fact that his teammate would never recover when he was transferred to his home country Serbia.

He further added that "there were no warning signs that anything like this could happen at all."

Here's what the Greek coach said:

"Three weeks ago I was with the players at a video briefing. Jelovac didn't sit with us because he had an ankle injury. He was in the treatment room riding the exercise bike.

When we finished the briefing, we sent the players to practice and saw people running and calling an ambulance. Jelovac was conscious. We managed to communicate with him a little bit, but we realized something was wrong and that he was probably having a stroke.

We immediately canceled our practice, and the players went to the hospital. We played our Champions League game against Riga the next day without practice, but we played for him, fought like crazy, and won. Then, we beat Lavrio in the Greek League and went to the national team break.

When we had some time off from practices and games, we understood how serious the situation was. We were not thinking of the possibility of it ending as it did. He's a young man and we thought he would come out of it, albeit not at 100 percent. When there was no aggravation everything was fine.

Because of the coronavirus, we couldn't visit Stevan at the hospital. The general manager and the team manager of the team were in close contact with his family and doctors. The whole team went to the hotel to meet his parents.

Stevan Jelovac

Stevan  Jelovac
Stevan  Jelovac
MIN: 31.63
PTS: 16 (51.52%)
REB: 4.5
As: 0
ST: 1
BL: 0
TO: 1
GM: 2

So, we still had hopes that it would end well. No one fooled himself that he would come back to play basketball, and we hoped he would wake up with as few disabilities as possible.

Over the past two weeks, we have begun to mentally prepare for the worst, so yesterday's announcement of his death did not surprise team members. When the family asked for him to be transferred to Serbia for further treatment, it was clear to us that hope had run out.

It's so sad and strange that a young man died of a stroke. There were no warning signs that anything like this could happen at all. I've been a coach for over 20 years and nothing like this has happened to me.

It's a difficult experience, a life lesson. You start to put basketball into perspective, and I understood what really matters. The truth is that I was in a similar mood after the rocket attacks in Israel when I was with my children in Holon.

But you know how it is; over time, the shock passes, you go back to everyday life, results, and basketball.

We will send representatives to his funeral in Serbia this week and try to overcome this loss together. Stevan was really an amazing guy. Serious, respectful, kind, smiling, didn't cause any problems, he was a true professional and always committed to his work".

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Stevan Jelovac

Stevan  Jelovac
Team: AEK Athens
Position: PF
Height: 208 cm
Weight: 110 kg
Birth place: Novi Sad, Serbia