Novi Sad's greatest season ever: A look back at the perfect 2018 campaign
10 Feb 2021
NOVI SAD (Serbia) - Saskatoon. Prague. Lausanne. Debrecen. Hyderabad. Beijing.
6 World Tour events. Zero losses. 32-0.
This level of perfection has not been seen since and may never be seen again in 3x3. The team consisting of Dusan Bulut, Tamas Ivosev, Dejan Majstorovic, Marko Savic, and Marko Zdero (who played at one event) came together to play at the highest level we have witnessed.
Their road to an undefeated season actually began the year before, on October 29th, 2017. Bogdan Dragovic of Zemun hit a championship-winning shot over Dusan Bulut, one of the greatest Tissot Buzzer Beaters to this day. It was a devastating way to end the season and the fuel needed to move forward.
For Bulut, that laid the groundwork for a 2018 season to remember.
"That was maybe the hardest loss I have had in my life. I was super pissed at myself. I missed two open shots for the win, and that (Dragovic) shot came over my head. I felt like I let down my teammates. I was hungrier to compete even more (in 2018). I was really motivated to give my best every single day. How I practiced, what I practiced, when I’m going to rest, it focused me more on being present and enjoying the complete ride of the whole season," said Bulut ahead of the 2018 Finals.
That mentality led Bulut to earn the 2018 World Tour regular-season MVP award. He finished 2nd overall in scoring on the World Tour season and topped all players in both two-pointers (42%) and free throw percentages (86% - at least 15 attempts).
The stats for the season were staggering.
Novi Sad went 32-0, leading the field in points per game (20.7) and points conceded (14.1). 25 of their 32 games were finished before the limit, tops for the World Tour. In addition, they led in shooting efficiency, and highlights per game (8.8 – minimum 10 games).
While Bulut got most of the accolades, it was a full team effort. Tamas Ivosev was third in P-VAL per game (6.3), Dejan Majstorovic shot a staggering 69% from 1-point range, and Marko Savic was right behind Bulut with 93 highlights.
At the 2018 Beijing Final, Novi Sad never trailed in the final game vs. Riga, winning 20-18, capping off a season we will never forget.
‘Mr. Bullutproof’ was once again named MVP of the final, his 8th individual honor of the season (5 WT, 3 with the national team).
While we are not going to see Novi Sad continue together, the memories of the season and the ruthlessness with which the team played, will never be forgotten.
All 32 undefeated games from 2018:
Saskatoon Masters Novi Sad 19-16 Winnipeg Novi Sad 21-8 Princeton Novi Sad 21-11 Old Montreal Novi Sad 21-15 Saskatoon Novi Sad 20-18 Liman
Prague Masters Novi Sad 20-8 Antwerp Novi Sad 21-19 Prague Novi Sad 21-19 Belgrade Novi Sad 21-12 Humpolec Novi Sad 21-9 Ralja Novi Sad 21-11 Gdansk Novi Sad 21-12 Gagarin
Lausanne Masters Novi Sad 21-18 Amsterdam Novi Sad 21-15 Kranj Novi Sad 21-16 Humpolec Novi Sad 22-8 Lausanne Novi Sad 21-20 Liman
Debrecen Masters Novi Sad 21-15 Vrbas Novi Sad 21-14 Kranj Novi Sad 21-19 Belgrade Novi Sad 21-15 Amsterdam Novi Sad 21-10 Riga
Hyderabad Masters Novi Sad 21-17 Delhi Novi Sad 22-9 Gdansk Novi Sad 21-15 Piran Novi Sad 21-20 Riga Novi Sad 21-16 Liman
Beijing World Tour Final Novi Sad 21-11 Humpolec Novi Sad 19-14 Ljubljana Novi Sad 15-11 Piran Novi Sad 21-13 Zemun Novi Sad 20-18 Riga