In his second year as head of the bench at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, Sasa Obradovic is in the process of creating a masterpiece. The growing Russian powerhouse, under Obradovic's guidance, has not lost a single game on the way to the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals and in doing so has set recorded the longest winning streak to start a season in competition history. Now, with only the championship series and Darussafaka Istanbul left to conquer, Obradovic will attempt to guide Lokomotiv, a club only five years removed from EuroCup glory, back to celebrating the coveted crown. For the 49-year old Serbian, such success had been a long time coming.
If 20 wins in as many games do not speak enough of the job Obradovic has done this season, there are other indicators that describe how well his team has done and how dominating, especially defensively, Lokomotiv has played this season. In a day and age when scoring is at an all-time high, Lokomotiv’s is allowing a mere 68.5 points per game, the fewest in the last three years. Moreover, Lokomotiv goes into the final series having held its opponents to the lowest two-point and three-point shooting percentages in the competition, making Obradovic’s defense arguably the best ever, and certainly the first in EuroCup history to rank first in all three defensive categories.
Obradovic has already had a few other firsts in his coaching career, though, and just like the other famous Obradovic, his countryman Zeljko, he is one of the reasons modern-day basketball has seen a number of clubs take chances by appointing former star players as their head coaches. A point guard during his playing days who helped the former Yugoslavia dominate the world of basketball during the 1990s and early this century, Obradovic retired in 2005 and immediately succeeded as a head coach. In his first gig, Obradovic guided Rhein Energy Koeln, the team he retired with as a player, to the 2006 German League title. In his second season he made his EuroLeague coaching debut. And he has produced success in all of the places he has coached since, winning a Ukrainian League title with Kyiv in 2009, reaching the EuroCup quarterfinals with BC Donetsk in 2012 and then in the four years to follow, he guided ALBA Berlin to a pair of EuroLeague Top 16 appearances, one EuroCup Quarterfinal, and three German Cup titles.
Last season Obradovic led Lokomotiv to the EuroCup Semifinals and now has taken the team another step further. The ferocious defense has gotten the coach and his team in position to become the first this century to win either EuroCup or the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague without losing a game and just two wins away from EuroCup immortality.