The Slovenia Times

Artist of the basketball court



that he fainted and made a decision to play basketball. At the age of 14 he started practising in Maribor for Branik, where he was noticed by Aleksandar Gec who saw a rare gift that only the top players posses. Ivo joined Olimpija at 19. It was Gec who recommended him to the national coach, Aca Nikolic, who decided to take a chance, which he never regretted. Daneu was the captain of the national team for some years in the 60's, he gathered eight medals from the biggest competitions but he never accepted the invitations of foreign teams. He turned down Real Madrid and many other top European teams and spent 14 years with Olimpija. His reputation as an 'executioner' was so solid that he had a permanent place on the lists of national coaches Nikolic and Ranko Zeravica for more than ten years. He made key points in the last four seconds of the game with the USA at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 1963, he also decided the game between Olimpija and Partizan in the same year when he hit a buzzer-beating shot in Pionir hall in Belgrade. He relied on his refined feeling for the ball and did not always follow the instructions of the coach if he felt his shot would be successful. He played in the European Championships for the first time in 1957. Four years later Yugoslavia won silver at the European Championships in Belgrade. He won bronze in Wroclaw, Poland in 1963, followed by two silvers - in Moscow (1965) and in Naples (1969). After winning the silver medal at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 1963, he was named MVP of the World Championships in Montevideo in 1967 and was declared the best individual sportsman in Yugoslavia the same year.His last season -1969/70 - was unforgettable. Olimpija won the Yugoslavian National Championships in a thrilling game in Zadar (for the last time) and the Yugoslavian national team won the gold medal at World Championships after beating the USA. When the game ended with the score 70:63, the crowd started to go wild, tears of joy ran down the faces of the players and the celebrations spilled out onto the streets of the city. Tivoli and Ljubljana were witnessing one of Yugoslavia's greatest sporting successes of all time. Ivo raised the World Trophy in the air and finished his career a winner. He only tried his hand at coaching once, in 1970/71 he was the head coach of Olimpija and then never again. Whenever Union Olimpija play a game in the Euroleague, he is always amongst the spectators. He always sits in the same place, with his back turned against the hockey hall where he and his team-mates started the golden era of Yugoslavian basketball in 1970.


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