After a historic but somewhat disappointing season, and with a new man in charge, Cedevita Zagreb looks to bounce back and prove it was no one-year wonder. Coach Jasmin Repesa has been handed the reins of the ambitious club that made its Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut last season, but finished the regular season with 2-8 record. The club also fell in the Croatian Cup finals, losing to city-rival Cibona Zagreb; was bounced in the Croatian League semis by KK Zadar; and finished only sixth in the Adriatic League. Now, Repesa takes over young club that is hungry for victories and more trophies. Founded in 1991 as a local Zagreb club under the name KK Botinec, the team climbed to the second division in 1998 and reached the Croatian elite in 2002. Cedevita finished fifth overall in its Croatian League debut season and when the Atlantic Group decided to back the club and changed its name to KK Cedevita, everything seemed to click. With a strong sponsor ready to take it to the next level, Cedevita finished fifth in Croatia from 2007 to 2009 and then in 2009-10, finished seventh in its Adriatic League debut and reached the Croatian League semifinals for the first time. Cedevita took the best-of-three semifinal series to a decisive showdown with Zadar, but came up narrowly short. Cedevita regrouped and continued to improve, however nobody expected what came next. Cedevita shocked everyone in the 2010-11 Eurocup. It downed Dynamo Moscow in the Qualifying Round and survived the regular season with a big home win against Azovmash. Cedevita went on to get past the Last 16 and knock off Asefa Estudiantes in the quarterfinals to get to the Eurocup Finals – an unthinkable result even for the club's biggest fans. Unics halted its great run in the semifinals, but Cedevita had written a brilliant page in competition history. Dontaye Draper earned Eurocup MVP honors, Aco Petrovic received the Best Coach award and players like Bracey Wright, Vedran Vukusic, Marino Bazdaric and Damjan Rudez also played valuable roles in the club's fantastic run. Cedevita also placed seventh in the Adriatic League and won the Croatian League regular season, but lost against Zagreb in the best-of-five finals. In 2011-12, Cedevita struggled early and missed the Eurocup Last 16, but the team rebounded to win its first-ever title – the Croatian Cup - by downing KK Zagreb 74-72 in the final behind 27 points from Matjaz Smodis. Cedevita later reached the Adriatic League title game and the Croatian League finals to complete an outstanding season. Maccabi Electra and Cibona, respectively, stood in its way of more trophies. The targets were set high last season and despite falling short, Cedevita has the talent and confidence to challenge for greatness this time around.
Croatian National Cup: 2012