Nikola Plećaš - Scorer with no flaw

“Saint Nikola” is one the best Croatian players in history. Along with the great Dražen Petrović, Nikola Plećaš is the biggest legend of Cibona (then called Lokomotiva). Plećaš was peculiar player and one of the best scorers in Europe i

objavljeno 28.04.'05.; autor: Krunoslav Cukrov
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“Saint Nikola” is one the best Croatian players in history. Along with the great Dražen Petrović, Nikola Plećaš is the biggest legend of Cibona (then called Lokomotiva). Plećaš was peculiar player and one of the best scorers in Europe in his time.

He was born in Bruvno on January 10, 1948 and his rise started in late 1970s when he joined Lokomotiva. In ten years playing for the club from Zagreb, he scored 5404 points in 204 games, which is more than 26 points per game. It is important to mention that back then there wasn’t a three point. He holds, along with Dražen, a club record in points (55) scored in an away game. Biggest team success happened in 1974 in Korač Cup Finals when he scored 44 points (record number of points then) and almost single-handedly beat OFK Belgrade.

He debuted for Yugoslavian national team in 1967 and collected total of 215 games. He scored 1354 points for the national team. Maybe even the greater moment in his career happened in World Championship which took place in Ljubljana in 1970 where he, along with Šolman, Tvrdić, Skansi and, of course, Krešimir Ćosić, led the national team to the title.

He brought first big medal from Olympic Games held in Mexico in 1968 – silver medal after Yugoslavia lost in the final. Next year it’s silver medal again for Yugoslavia, but this time in European Championship; same happened again two years later.

But third time it is finally a gold medal for Nikola “The First Mustache” Plećaš and Yugoslavia in EC. Next year Yugoslavia wins silver medal in WC and European title is successfully defended in 1975. Plećaš played a major role in winning all these medals. Then, in 1976 a situation occurred which seems ridiculous from today’s point of view, but that situation practically ended one big career. Plećaš was expelled from the national team just before the Olympic Games in Montreal because he appeared in a tea commercial, without even receiving a fee. Really bizarre situation after what “Saint Nikola” never recovered. He left Lokomotiva and joined Kvarner from Rijeka but he was never the same player he had been before. After he finished his career, Plećaš was probably unjustly ignored by Cibona, a team he had indebted so much.

Plećaš was a brilliant basketball player who has had a really great career. Rarely talented player with the sky as a limit, but someone who didn’t take the advantage of his potential to its fullest. Probably, mostly because of his stubbornness. Plećaš was a charismatic player who will be written in Croatian and European basketball history with bold letters.-




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