Gurović with Crvena zvezda
|Born||17 June 1976|
Novi Sad, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||209 lb (95 kg)|
|NBA draft||1997 / Undrafted|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|Number||8, 11, 15, 32, 51|
|2012–2013||Crvena zvezda (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born and raised in Novi Sad to Serbian parents (father Božidar and mother Mara), both hailing from the vicinity of Trebinje in Herzegovina, young Milan practiced kung fu before taking up basketball. Gurović has a younger brother Veljko.
Gurović started playing basketball in the youth system of NAP Novi Sad.
Marking himself out quickly as a talented youngster, he moved to Greece during summer 1992 just after his 16th birthday to join Peristeri youth system.
By 1994, he entered their first team. As was the case with many young basketball players from former Yugoslavia at the time (mostly of Serbian ethnicity), he also took Greek citizenship, and thus competed as a domestic player, under the name of Milan Malatras.
Playing alongside another talented Serbian youngster and future star Marko Jarić, it was not long before Gurović started showing his quality. By his fourth season with the club, 1997–98, he averaged 17.2 points per game.
In the summer of 1998, Gurović moved to FC Barcelona where he spent the next two seasons. Brought in as replacement to forward Marcelo Nicola who moved on to Benetton, his transfer to Barcelona was a big money deal that heightened expectations.
Over the summer 2000, Gurović got invited for the FR Yugoslavia national team training camp ahead of the Sydney Olympics, however he ended up getting cut by the national team's head coach Željko Obradović and thus not included on the final 12-man roster the coach took to Australia. Many years later, Gurović revealed to the public that after the Olympics Obradović made him an offer of joining his club side Panathinaikos, reigning EuroLeague champion at the time. However, still mad about not being taken to the Olympics, 25-year-old Gurović rejected the offer, figuring that Obradović was just stroking his ego after cutting him in the national team. Gurović also revealed a later personal realization that rejecting the Panathinaikos offer was a regrettable mistake.
Still, despite not taking the Panathinaikos offer, the return to Greece was on the cards with their city rivals AEK Athens coached by Dušan Ivković. However, Gurović would not stay there long as in late December 2000 after appearing in only 5 domestic league and 4 EuroLeague games, he left the club.
Finishing the season in TriesteEdit
Gurović transferred to Pallacanestro Trieste of the Italian league where he played out the remainder of the 2000–01 season.
Back to Spain: CB MálagaEdit
Gurović was on the move again in the summer 2001 transfer season with another return, this time back to Spain with CB Málaga led by Serbian coach Božidar Maljković. In his first season at Andalusia, Gurović averaged 14 points per game over 32 regular season league games.
Celtics pre-season campEdit
Summer 2002 would in many ways be the turning point in his career. Twenty-six-year-old Gurović made the final FR Yugoslavia 12-man squad for the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis. His exceptional performance against the Americans in the quarterfinals capped off with two big three-pointers in the last quarter further cemented his iconic status with Serbian fans, and also gained him a lot of attention internationally. As a result, the Celtics took notice and invited him to their pre-season camp. No deal was reached and he never went to the NBA.
Back in Málaga for a second season, he featured in 30 regular-season games averaging 10.3ppg as well as in sixteen EuroLeague games where his scoring average was 12.7ppg.
Return home: VojvodinaEdit
What followed over the summer 2003 transfer season came as a surprise to many watchers. Citing a desire to be closer to his family, Gurović returned to his hometown Novi Sad, signing a contract with NIS Vojvodina. Prior to his final signature, he was heavily courted by KK Hemofarm of nearby Vršac, but in a sudden turnaround he decided to go with Vojvodina.
Aborted transfer to UNICSEdit
Following a season in his hometown, Gurović was on the move again. During late summer 2004, he agreed terms with Russian club UNICS from the Tatarstan federal subject, but after arriving in Kazan with his wife and kids in late August and early September to make living arrangements, he had a change of heart. Though satisfied with the club's organization and its basketball facilities, Gurović characterized things outside of the basketball court in Kazan as being below the level he was used to in Greece, Spain, or Serbia, specifically citing being unhappy with the apartment the club provided him with, the lack of an English-language school for his kids, and general dissatisfaction with the city as the reasons not to stay in Kazan. He furthermore mentioned that the television coverage he watched while in Kazan of the Beslan school hostage crisis that was unfolding thousand kilometers away in another Russian city had a bad psychological effect on him that ultimately also affected his decision not to stay in Kazan.
Two months at PartizanEdit
Finally in late October 2004, Gurović signed for Serbia-Montenegro champions KK Partizan. Playing on three fronts: Serbian league (still in full format), EuroLeague, and regional Adriatic League, Gurović posted a good season. This was the first season that KK Partizan participated in the regional Balkans-wide league after years of pressure to join the competition.
Gurović became embroiled in controversy started in the Croatian media regarding a tattoo of controversial World War II figure Draža Mihailović on his right shoulder. Four days before Partizan's mid-November away game at Cibona, Croatian sports web portal SportNet.hr posted an editorial by Bernard Jurišić headlined "A Chetnik in Partisan Clothing is Coming for a Visit" urging the Croatian public and authorities to "stop a person sporting a tattoo of a Chetnik legend on his arm from entering Croatia" while the rest of the Croatian media immediately picked up the story, further whipping up the public sentiment against Gurović in the country. It wasn't long before an official reaction, with Croatian Ministry of the Interior announcing Gurović would be turned away at the border if he tried to enter the country. Due to fears of crowd trouble when Partizan plays away in Croatia, the club decided not to take Gurović on those away trips.
In mid December, less than two months after signing, Gurović and crno-beli parted company as the club head coach Duško Vujošević expressed regret about "certain things that have nothing to do with basketball coming to the forefront". A sizable portion of the Serbian public saw the behaviour of Partizan's front office in this situation as failure to stick up for their player, however, Gurović himself had only good things to say about his two months at Partizan including praise for the way club management, specifically sports director Dragan Todorić and coach Vujošević, treated him with his only complaints having to do with what he felt to be occasional lack of general support in Serbia from the country's basketball federation and official political circles. But, some two years later, now a member of Partizan's heated cross-town rivals Red Star, Gurović came out saying his Partizan stint was the biggest mistake of his career and that "individuals from Partizan's club management used him for their self-promotion".
In early September 2005, Gurović signed a one-year contract with Crvena zvezda thus reuniting with head coach Dragan Šakota who took over the team months earlier. The club also acquired Pero Antić, all of which meant that it entered the season with high hopes and expectations.
Gurović led the team in ULEB Cup (now called EuroCup) during 2005–06.
He especially came into his own throughout fall 2006 at age 31, putting on great scoring displays game after game. At the end of the season Gurović led the ULEB Cup in individual scoring with 25.9 points per game, and he also dominantly won the Adriatic League's scoring title, with 28.6 points per game.
Season in PolandEdit
Over the summer 2007 transfer window, 32-year-old Gurović signed for Polish club Prokom Trefl from the town of Sopot. He, naturally, assumed the role of the team leader and memorably led the team to the Polish league title. His year in Poland was not without controversy either as on 25 May 2008, during game 4 of Polish Basketball League 2007–08 Playoff Finals, Gurović got involved in an infamous brawl with two players from opposing team Turów Zgorzelec - Iwo Kitzinger and Thomas Kelati. After the incident authorities of the DBE took the decision that marked him as the fight's instigator and Milan has been suspended for game 5. He was also fined PLN20,000 (about €6,000).
On Tuesday 29 September 2009, Milan Gurović announced his retirement from professional basketball. In 2015, discussing his sixteen-year playing career, Gurović listed Saša Đorđević, Juan Carlos Navarro, Dejan Bodiroga, Peja Stojaković, and Vlade Divac as the best players he's played with.
In late August 2010, following a year on the sidelines, 35-year-old Gurović entertained the idea of a return to playing, even offering his services to Crvena zvezda head coach Mihailo Uvalin. Nothing came of it in the end.
National team careerEdit
Gurović won the gold medal at the EuroBasket 2001, and at the 2002 FIBA World Championship, as a member of the senior Yugoslavian National Basketball Team. Zoran Slavnić, the head coach of the senior national team of Serbia, invited Gurović to play for his country in the EuroBasket 2007.
|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|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
Gurović began organizing basketball clinics for kids in Belgrade's Šumice sports center in December 2011.
Assistant at Red StarEdit
When Milivoje Lazić got named the head coach of Crvena zvezda in July 2012, he selected Gurović to be his first assistant. Lazić got relieved of his duties only two games into the season, but Gurović stayed on in the same role under Lazić's replacement Vlada Vukoičić. Vukoičić wouldn't finish the season either, getting fired just before the Adriatic League Final Four in Laktaši and replaced with Dejan Radonjić. Gurović again continued on as assistant coach, finishing the season in that role, as Crvena zvezda again failed to win either the Adriatic or the Serbian title.
Head coaching debut: KK FMPEdit
In his debut season behind the bench, Gurović's FMP team led by a couple of somewhat experienced journeymen — 25-year-old Slobodan Dunđerski and 24-year-old Filip Čović — in addition to talented 19-year-old Nikola Čvorović as well 18-year-olds Đorđe Kaplanović, Marko Gudurić, and Brano Đukanović finished the First League stage of the campaign on top with a 20–6 record, ahead of Crnokosa, Metalac Valjevo, and Borac Čačak, thus qualifying for the Super League stage.
On 7 February 2014 Gurović's FMP pulled out a famous win over favourites KK Partizan in the Serbian Cup quarterfinal — 85-79 after overtime behind Nikola Čvorović's 27 points. The win was still seen as an upset despite injury-riddled Partizan fielding a makeshift squad half of which consisted of junior players as proud Gurovic praised his players. In its semifinal versus Dejan Milojević-coached Mega, FMP led by 5 at the half on the back of its strong second quarter showing, but collapsed in the third and, despite some improvement in the fourth, lost the game 85–93 as towards the end of the game Gurović reacted explosively to verbal abuse, he later revealed consisted of insults against his family, from several individuals behind his bench who got ejected from the arena as a result.
Competing in the eight-team Super League against Serbian clubs from the Adriatic League (Red Star, Partizan, Mega, and Radnički Kragujevac) as well its three First League competitors, FMP managed a 5–9 record that was good enough for 5th spot, just outside a playoff berth. Due to FMP's association with Red Star and Gurović's personal past with Partizan fans as well as FMP's cup win earlier in the season, both of FMP's Super League games against Partizan were especially memorable. The teams met again on 2 June 2014 in Hala sportova with FMP leading throughout the nervy contest and building a 17-point lead heading into the final quarter before Partizan shifted into a higher gear and out shot their opposition 34–13 in the fourth quarter for an 86–82 win. Gurović was targeted throughout the match by Partizan fans and the arena erupted when he pushed Boris Dallo, a move that resulted in an automatic ejection from the sidelines as Partizan coach Duško Vujošević even took to the public address microphone, imploring home fans to calm down.
In addition to his native country Serbia, Gurović also holds Greek citizenship, which he obtained for administrative reasons of playing without EU restrictions in the Greek Basket League, like numerous other Serbian players such as Dragan Tarlać, Peja Stojaković, and Marko Jarić. At the time (late 1990s), Gurović played for Peristeri, where he started his basketball career. In order to get Greek citizenship, his last name was changed; he thus competed under the name Milan Malatras while he was in Greece. The name change was required, as it reflected the citizenship documents submitted. There are rumors that these documents were often falsified, and subject to counterfeiting.
While playing for KK Partizan Gurović was not let in Croatia and Bosnia to play a game because of his tattoo of WW2 Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović on his shoulder. Above that tattoo, he has a tattooed eagle.
Serbian writer Biljana Srbljanović referred to Gurović as "that tattooed fool" in her online exchange with Nebojša Krstić, the adviser to President of Serbia at her blog. When informed and asked by daily tabloid Kurir about Srbljanović's online comments, Gurović responded: "For her information, that 'tattooed fool' speaks, besides Serbian, three foreign languages. I know who this writer is and feel very sorry for her. Women of her age can do or say foolish stuff sometimes if they don't get their portion of cock in the morning. She must've awoken unfucked that day when she said this."
Before joining Red Star Belgrade he was a member of their arch-rivals Partizan Belgrade. Because of this, he became the main target for the Partizan fans, Grobari, who strongly supported him during the Croatian ban. This culminated during final of Serbian league's playoff in 2007 when Grobari chanted insults and provocations from the stands targeting Milan's wife, children and parents. Milan responded and in TV interview said that "Grobari are cattle". In the second game, when Red Star were hosts, incidents occurred on the stands between Red Star fans Delije and police. Gurović tried to calm Red Star supporters and to defend them from police. Delije chanted "You are Zvezda's chetnik Milan" (Serbian : "Ti si Zvezdin Četnik Milane") and Gurović cried. In the third game, Grobari used Milan's tears as provocation. Partizan won series 3–1 and became the Serbian champions.
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