Before going back in my memory again about clutch players, there are a couple of things I’d like to note:
With this series we will have several Top 10s, for instance the top scorers, top Americans, top non-Americans, etc… Many people could be on several lists but, I prefer to spread them through several categories. Therefore, is some player does not appear on a Top 10 in any given week, that’s probably because he will appear on another list.
I limit myself to players who left a mark on the EuroLeague and European club competitions, especially the former Champions Cup.
As in any personal selection, I know that some people won’t agree with my choices, criteria and memories, but that cannot be avoided. I hope we will coincide with mos of them, however.
The order is arbitrary. As far as I am concerned, all the names deserve to be number one.
10. Dragan Kicanovic (1953)
One of my favorite players, because of his talent and character, the titles he won and his leadership. He was a natural-born winner and a player who shined with his own light, but who also made his teammates better. He formed a great duo in the 1970s with Drazen Dalipagic for Partizan and also for the Yugoslav national team. He was a three-time EuroBasket champion, an Olympic champion and world champion, plus the MVP in several big competitions. He was chosen the best European player twice. He scored the decisive basket against the USSR in the 1975 EuroBasket final, but his presence on the court was almost always decisive.
9. Juan Antonio San Epifanio (1959)
‘Epi’ was a natural offensive player with extraordinary shooting ability who could score from just about any spot on the court. In 1984, when three-pointers came to the international game, his privileged wrist increased in value even more. From his debut with the first team of Barcelona at age 17 in 1976, Epi established many records. He won 22 club trophies: seven Spanish Leagues, 10 Spanish Cups, two Cup Champions Cups, one Korac Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, silver and bronze medals with Spain in the 1983 and 1991 EuroBaskets, plus an Olympic silver in 1984. He was a shooter who had the full trust of his coaches. The strategy in clutch moments was simple: look for Epi and await his shot.
8. Mirza Delibasic (1954-2001)
He had supernatural talent. He started by winning the cadet EuroBasket in 1971 with Yugoslavia in the final against the host, Italy. He scored 99 points in that tourney and 144 the following summer with a new gold at the junior EuroBasket. That same summer, Delibasic left his native Tuzla and signed for Bosna Sarajevo. In seven years, Bosna went from the Yugoslav second division to European club champion in 1979 against five-time winner Varese. Without Delibasic, who scored 30 points, it would not have been possible. With his national team, from the 1975 EuroBasket through the 1982 World Championships, he won eight medals: two EuroBasket golds, in 1975 and 1977; a World Championships gold (1978); and the Olympic gold (1980).
Source: EuroLeague Basketball