On this date five years ago, Boban Marjanovic set a new standard for greatness at Crvena Zvezda Belgrade that no player in the team's 117 games since has been able to match. Marjanovic posted a performance index rating of 40 on March 26, 2015, against ALBA Berlin to eclipse his own mark of 39 from earlier that season.
Heading into that game
The 2.20-meter Zvezda center was in the midst of a breakout season in his second with the club. After debuting in the EuroLeague with CSKA Moscow and Zalgiris Kaunas in 2010-11, Marjanovic failed to establish to establish a foothold in Europe's premier competition and returned home to Serbia. Zvezda signed him in the summer of 2013 and Marjanovic showed promise in his first season with 10.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in the EuroLeague. Then he became an unstoppable force in his second campaign with the club, leading Zvezda to a 6-4 record in the regular season and even improving his numbers in the Top 16.
Marjanovic dominated in loss
Marjanovic was his usual dominant self against ALBA on this night, even though his team struggled early. He posted 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in the first quarter alone before taking a seat with 2 fouls. He added 6 points and 2 more rebounds in the second quarter, though Zvezda found itself behind 39-22 at the break. The big man dominated in the third 12 points and 3 boards to held Zvezda close the gap and his team tied it at 61-61 in the fourth quarter, but Zvezda ran out of steam and ALBA held on late for a 73-68 victory. Marjanovic finished with 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting plus 9-of-11 plus 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Marko Banic paced ALBA with 18 points and Reggie Redding dished 11 assists in victory.
A historic season
Marjanovic's performance that night marked his 14th of what would be a EuroLeague record 16 double-doubles that season. For the season, he posted marks that were at the time the best in over a decade with an average PIR of 25.7 plus 10.7 rebounds per game. No player has posted better numbers over a full season since, though Anadolu Efes Istanbul's Shane Larkin (25.8) is on pace to top him this season. Marjanovic was also the 2014-15 EuroLeague runner-up in scoring with 16.6 points. He earned weekly MVP honors three times and posted six of the season's top 20 performances based on index rating. Those also represent six of the seven best PIRs in Zvezda history.
Zvezda split the remaining two games of the Top 16 – with Marjanovic posting double-doubles in both – to finish seventh in Group E with a 4-10 record and did not make the playoffs. Nevertheless, Marjanovic was voted onto the 2014-15 All-EuroLeague First Team and was the only player chosen whose team did not reach the Final Four.