Darko Krunic was a professional basketball player. Euroleague Basketball
Авторский спортивный блог #49
Krunic: A natural born scorer matures
Dec 9, 2000
The good things in life are happening to Darko Krunic, the current Euroleague player of the week, in his thirties.
That only goes to show that you are never too old if you work enough, if you have enough talent, if you believe in yourself and, perhaps most importantly, if you are patient enough. Even though only the best survive, good things really do happen to those who know how to wait.
Krunic, 32, has been playing basketball for 20 years, and only the last two outside of Zagreb. Those who call him a "local boy" are very close to the truth. In fact, Krunic was born and raised in the Zagreb suburb of Dubrava, which now features a team (Dona, formerly Benston) which beat Cibona and Zadar in this year's championship.
Krunic helped lay the foundation for that success during four seasons with Benston ending in 1999.
"The four best years of my career were the last four in Benston," he said the morning after posting a 27-point performance as Zadar won its first Euroleage game, 118-79, over Lugano of Switzerland.
The last of those four years in Dona was also Krunic's best ever season as a scorer, even for someone for whom scoring has never been difficult. The 20.5 points he averaged during the 1998/99 season with Benston surpassed all the scoring titles he won as a junior.
His performance that year also provoked offers from all over Europe, but he stayed home in Croatia, choosing Zadar. Krunic averaged 12.2 points as Zadar won the national cup and was runner-up to Cibona in an emotional league final last spring.
"I don't know, maybe I made a mistake staying home," he says. "The offers I had, maybe I would have made more money, but I can't complain about my my career. I made some things happen."
Krunic is a natural born scorer, as he is the first to admit.
"I was raised as a scorer, and if you ask me now, I will tell you, I love to score rather than pass. But I will never ignore a teammate who is in a better position to score," he says. "That's the only way you can play. And win. And when we play like that, play as a team, we are always close to victory."
The years he spent in Zagreb helped him realise that the game is not only about scoring.
"My coach in that time, Pepsi Bozic always said that he worked a miracle with me, turning a shooter into a playmaker. It was, easy, he said, to do it other way around. I will give him credit, he made me realise that basketball is not only about scoring".
Even as he enjoyed the MVP award for Week 6 of the Euroleague, Krunic regretted that Zadar had to wait so long to see a victory.
"We have a good, a very good team, but luck plays a part sometimes," he said. "I truly belive that Zadar should have been second in the group.
Zadar should have won four matches. We lost in the last second in Lugano, in overtime to PAF Bologna at home, despite leading by three with the possession and one minute to go in the regulation. And against Peristeri, we lost after being up by 11 with 7 minutes to go. But, that's basketball. Sometimes you need a little luck".
One of the reasons he stayed in Zadar this season, was a chance to play in Euroleague.
"Great competition, great teams. I will say this much. Italy, Greece and Spain have the best leagues in Europe, financialy and any other way, the three best leagues in Europe. And all the best teams from those three leagues, apart from Panathinaikos, play in the Euroleague. That will, I think, say more than words."
Darko Krunic was always Mr. Niceguy, and an award such as this was a long time in coming. When Krunic plays well, Zadar plays well, when Krunic pours, when he's hot, when he scores, Zadar wins.
Neven Berticevic, Sportske Novosti, Zagreb
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