BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Damir Mulaomerovic's finest moment came in 2002, when he captured the Euroleague title with Panathinaikos |
One of Croatia's most successful basketball players the past 17 years, Damir Mulaomerovic, has retired.
The 37-year-old combo guard, known affectionately across Europe as 'Mula', has left an indelible imprint on the game.
His name was synonymous with championships since early in his career because from 1995 to 1998, he captured league titles at Cibona Zagreb.
Outside of his homeland, he played in Italy, Turkey, Greece and Spain.
Conquering the 2002 Euroleague title with Panathinaikos was his finest moment at club level.
Mulaomerovic played with his last club, KK Zagreb, in the 2010/11 EuroChallenge and blogged about the experience on FIBAEurope.com
He also donned the Croatia national team shirt and while he never captured a medal, he did play at the highest level.
In 1996 at the Atlanta Games, Mulaomerovic was a youngster in the Croatia side that came in seventh.
His first EuroBasket appearance came in 1997, in Spain, and he immediately established himself as Croatia's leader with 15.4 points and six assists per game, at the age of 23.
His last EuroBasket with Croatia was in 2003, when the tournament was held in Sweden.
The 1.95m guard averaged 16.5 points and four assists per contest and the Croatians finished 11th at that event too.
Asked about his time as a player this week, Mulaomerovic said: "I am satisfied with everything I did, as a guy from a small town (Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina) who proved I can play among the best.
"I am proud of everything, but the whole career was a combination of luck, courage and madness."
|Mulaomerovic, who played with Dario Saric for two seasons, believes the young star and Croatia are in good hands with 'teacher' Jasmin Repesa at the helm|
This was a difficult season for Mulaomerovic and KK Zagreb.
For starters, an injury to center Mario Kasun hurt the team, and Mulaomerovic also ended up having to play a lot more minutes at point guard than he had bargained for.
While he endured a difficult final campaign, Mulaomerovic got to know one of the country's fine young talents.
He was a teammate of Dario Saric, a star in the making.
Saric, a 2.04m guard/forward, led Croatia to gold at the U16 European Championship in 2010 and was voted unanimously the MVP of the tournament.
Just a few days later, he joined the U18 team and averaged 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds at the U18 European Championship.
He is a big prospect, yet only turned 18 on 8 April.
Saric demonstrated enough quality that according to Mulaomerovic, "he showed he must count in the club and the national team" this summer, or in the future.
Mulaomerovic also said that now that Jasmin Repesa is back in charge of the national team, it bodes well for the promising talents like Saric.
"Young players in the national team will get a real teacher and authority in Repesa," Mulaomerovic said.
"Repesa is a good solution."