Marko Popović (basketball, born 1982)

Marko Popović (born 12 June 1982) is a Croatian basketball executive and former professional basketball player. Standing at a height of 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in), he played at the point guard and shooting guard positions.[1] He currently serves as a sporting director for Zenit Saint Petersburg of the VTB United League and the EuroLeague.

Marko Popović
Marko Popovic by Augustas Didzgalvis.jpg
Popović with Žalgiris in 2011
Zenit Saint Petersburg
PositionSporting director
LeagueVTB United League
EuroLeague
Personal information
Born (1982-06-12) 12 June 1982 (age 39)
Zadar, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
NationalityCroatian
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
CollegeCollege of Southern Idaho
(2000–2001)
NBA draft2004 / Undrafted
Playing career1998–2019
PositionPoint guard / shooting guard
Career history
1998–2003Zadar
2003–2004Valencia
2004–2005Cibona
2005–2006Efes Pilsen
2006–2008Žalgiris Kaunas
2008–2011UNICS Kazan
2011–2013Žalgiris Kaunas
2013–2015Khimki
2015–2019Fuenlabrada
Career highlights and awards
As player

Early lifeEdit

Born in Zadar, Popović is the son of Petar,[2] a retired basketball player and present-day coach. Marko started training in basketball in the youth school of KK Zadar, in 1991, but his family moved to Zagreb in 1994, when the father signed with Benston.[3] Popović then entered the youth system of Cibona, where he remained until 1997, when his family moved back to Zadar. Popović's cadet team won the national championship, and he was voted the MVP of the tournament.[3]

College careerEdit

After Popović had a successful 2000 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship with Croatia's junior national team, KK Zadar decided to offer him a seven-year contract, but he declined the offer, and instead went to an NCAA Division II college basketball team in the United States. He joined the College of Southern Idaho, where he stayed for a year.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Popović played with the youth junior squad of KK Zadar in the 1998–99 season, and also played in three games with the club's senior team that season. In the club's youth squad, he scored an average of 25 points per game, which earned him a spot in the top-tier level senior men's team of the club in the following season of 1999–00.[3] After spending a year in the United States, playing college basketball at the College of Southern Idaho (NCAA Division II), he moved back to Zadar, Croatia, in 2001.[3]

In the 2002–03 ABA League season, Zadar surprisingly won the championship, after beating Maccabi Tel Aviv in the finals. Popović played a major role in his team's success, and he was awarded with the MVP title of the leagues' final four tournament, which took place in Ljubljana.

In 2003 he moved to Pamesa Valencia of the Spanish ACB League for the 2003–04 season, where he stayed until February 2004, before moving back to Croatia again, this time to Cibona, with which he won the Croatian League championship in the 2003–04 season.

In 2005 Popović was signed by Turkish League team Efes Pilsen, and the next year, he moved to Žalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian League, with which he won both the 2006–07 and 2007–08 Lithuanian league championships. While playing with UNICS Kazan, he was named the Finals MVP of the 2nd-tier level European-wide league, the EuroCup, in 2011.[4]

In 2011 he returned to Žalgiris.[5] After leaving Žalgiris in June 2013, Popović agreed to contract terms with the Russian VTB United League team Khimki Moscow Region, as he signed a two-year deal with the club on 7 August 2013.[6] On 16 June 2015, he left Khimki, after spending two seasons with the club.[7]

On 6 October 2015, he signed with the Spanish team Baloncesto Fuenlabrada.[8] In February 2017, he became the all-time EuroCup scoring leader,[9] but was surpassed by Bojan Dubljević and Rafa Martínez later same season.[10] On 17 July 2018, he resigned with the Spanish club.[11] After spending four seasons with Fuenlabrada, in May 2019 Popović announced he will retire from playing professional basketball at the end of the season.[12]

National team careerEdit

Popović played for the Croatian men's junior national teams. With Croatia's under-18 team, he won a silver medal at the 2000 European Championship, which was held in his home town of Zadar. Croatia lost that tournament's gold medal game by one point against the junior national team of France, which was led by Tony Parker. Popović led the tournament in assists, with an average of 5.2 assists per game.[3] He also led the 2002 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship in both scoring and assists.

Popović joined the senior men's Croatian national team in 2002, and with the senior team, he played at the following EuroBasket tournaments: in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and finally in 2017. He also played at the 2008 Summer Olympics and at the 2010 World Championship.[13]

Career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

EuroLeagueEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2001–02 Zadar 11 4 30.4 .402 .299 .813 1.8 4.0 1.6 .0 13.9 13.1
2003–04 Valencia 17 5 20.0 .363 .339 .767 2.2 1.8 1.1 .0 6.8 6.5
2004–05 Cibona 17 16 31.8 .449 .386 .733 2.2 4.0 1.9 .0 15.4 16.2
2005–06 Efes Pilsen 16 13 24.0 .478 .419 .776 1.4 3.1 1.4 .0 12.9 12.8
2006–07 Žalgiris 7 7 34.4 .395 .273 .909 .9 4.9 1.4 .0 15.1 15.9
2007–08 Žalgiris 20 0 21.5 .432 .396 .839 1.4 2.0 1.0 .0 11.7 10.3
2011–12 Žalgiris 14 1 22.2 .404 .387 .906 2.1 2.1 .4 .0 12.5 11.4
2012–13 Žalgiris 21 13 24.0 .486 .439 .855 1.4 2.2 .7 .0 13.4 12.5
Career 123 59 29.2 .434 .380 .821 1.7 2.8 1.2 .0 12.5 12.0

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Marko Popovic PG/SG Nationality: Croatia Birth Place: Zadar, HRV Birth Date: 12-06-1982 Height: 185 cm Weight: 86 kg.
  2. ^ "Košarkaši strepili za pobjedu i protiv Finaca". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). 31 August 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011. [...] Petar Popović, legenda zadarske košarke, koji je potegnuo do Alytusa pogledati uživo nastupe Hrvatske na Eurobasketu. Otac Marka Popovića, [...][permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f Dean Sinovčić (15 April 2003). "Bit ću najniži europski igrač u NBA" [I will be the shortest European NBA player]. Nacional (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Eurocup Finals MVP, Marko Popovic of Unics". Eurocupbasketball.com. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Kapetan može bezbrižno na Eurobasket: Marko Popović se vraća u Žalgiris!". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). 14 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  6. ^ "BC Khimki inks Popovic to two-year deal". Euroleague.net. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Hvala Marko". BCKhimki.ru. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Marko Popovic signs with Fuenlabrada". Sportando.com. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Marko Popovic becomes EuroCup scoring king". eurocupbasketball.com. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  10. ^ "EuroCup scoring crown belongs to Dubljevic - for now". eurocupbasketball.com. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Fuenlabrada re-signs Marko Popovic". Sportando. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Marko Popovic retires at 36". eurohoops.net. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  13. ^ Marko POPOVIC (CRO) participated in 17 FIBA / FIBA Zones events.

External linksEdit