For years, Rusmir Halilović has been working on the secret of success in basketball; he wants his voice to be heard

Rusmir Halilović

Rusmir Halilović, a well-known basketball coach recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award

A large number of basketball players who have become top athletes, most of whom played in the NBA, were selected in their youth by Rusmir Halilović. He is frequently mentioned as one of the most important coaches in the early careers of basketball giants such as Toni Kukoč, Žarko Paspalj, Vlade Divac, Saša Đorđević, and others.

When he recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award in his hometown of Sarajevo, he briefly stated in his emotional speech on stage:

“I am immensely happy to receive this prestigious award in such an environment and in my hometown. This is an opportunity to remember all those who helped me in this journey, my closest ones, my wife Nada and children Tina and Vanja, as well as the recently deceased great teacher Mirko Novosel,” said Halilović, adding:

“It is also an opportunity to remember all the players I selected and coached, who justified my trust and became European and NBA stars.”

However, what the 73-year-old Halilović has been known for in recent years is his individual work with young players and the Basketballplus project, which he believes would yield quick results. In short, he has brought innovations to basketball based on his rich coaching experience.

‘To work seriously, conscientiously, and exceptionally with young players today, you must know what kind of basketball will be played tomorrow. I spent six years conducting research on this topic across scientific disciplines: physics, mathematics, anatomy, basketball, technique, tactics, technology, methodology, pedagogy, psychology, logic, diagnostics, analytics. I gathered about 130,000 records and devised 101 Basketballplus (‘B+’) laws, formulas, recipes, and advice. This has elevated basketball on a global scale and assisted all stakeholders: players, parents, coaches, presidents, investors, teacher trainers, promoters,” Halilović stated for tportal.

In addition, he has, as he calls them, several ‘invaluable pieces of advice’:

‘First, I would maximize the use of inherited genetic values, and implement learned-acquired values into team play. Second, I would timely assess the talent of each young basketball player; whether they are suited for elite sports or recreation, so as not to waste their youth on misguided dreams. Third, I would introduce the most productive warm-up for training into basketball, which each time enhances the maximum energy capacity of the players and simultaneously develops other basketball values. Fourth, I would overcome aggressive defenses with a new basketball alphabet and effective offensive technical-tactical skills. Fifth, by individualizing the education of basketball players according to their genetic, mental, and physical potentials based on the DNA 46 platform, I would accelerate and enrich their development. Sixth, I would introduce coaches for individual development and maintenance, as well as coaches for team work who implement the acquired values of players into team play, rather than standardizing ball and player movement by copying others. Top-level basketball, like medicine, can no longer exist without expert specialists,’ said Halilović, and in his presentation, he has many more pieces of advice for young players and coaches.


He also emphasized what is extremely important to him:

‘The break between two competitive seasons should not be longer than 10 days, and it should be used to create additional value so that the player can be even better in the next season. However, to develop their potential to the maximum, young and potent senior basketball players should play one game a week, and training should be reduced to four individual and five team sessions,’ he said, adding the advice he would give to coaches working with young players:

‘I would resolve the dilemma of elite basketball due to the decline of so-called potent players by emphasizing those currently more potent, rather than those currently more qualified and better. This would correct a major mistake that coaches, clubs, and national teams make for the sake of team results, causing irreparable damage to basketball.’

He also commented on today’s young coaches:

‘Basketball experts should think in terms of time categories – yesterday, today, tomorrow. Those who do not consider them, and try to become youth coaches immediately after their playing career without education, inflict irreparable damage even to their own children, limiting even the most potent to the level of a second-hand player,’ Halilović singled out from his project.

But the most important thing is that, unlike many coaches, he would systematically introduce player specialization by positions for senior competition. What this means, he explained by citing two of the most famous examples from the region:

‘The shortest players do not have to play the point guard position, and the tallest do not have to be centers. The ‘B+’ program offers reasoned advice on who should play what to give their maximum. This is best illustrated by examples from my practice, such as Žarko Paspalj and Toni Kukoč,’ said Halilović, an expert with a vision, but it remains to be seen whether others will accept his program.

He paid special attention, as the most important basketball element, to the jump shot:

‘The most important basketball element, the shot, I have shaped into six precision arsenals. In short, I devised it with programmed targeted exercises and measurement units for the so-called moment of truth, which periodically monitors the set progress speed and raises the technology to a high level,’ said Halilović, and he is particularly proud of working with the generation of players born in 1964, including Dražen Petrović.

‘Yes, Dražen was in that system from the cadet to the senior national team,’ said Halilović, emphasizing that it was immediately apparent that he was a hard worker and quickly absorbed new knowledge, constantly investing in himself to progress.


From the ‘B+’ project, around 20 missions were born

When it comes to the ‘B+’ project, Halilović highlighted some of the so-called missions:

‘I would like to emphasize the mission of eliminating side effects: inaccurate shots, playing in the wrong position, and inefficient offensive skills. Then the mission of international incubators for players aged 19 to 22, which in my opinion is the ideal age for clubs with significant international ambitions. With a professional strategy each season, they can avoid the beggar’s stick, and for younger seniors who are not recognized in the market, providing scholarships and supplementary individual and team work would enable them to move up to a higher category in just 300 days,’ said Halilović.

He highlighted another very important thing that produces results: ‘It is necessary to introduce the mission of supplementary instructional classes in regular schools and prevent clubs and coaches from prohibiting it. Parents have the right to the freedom to ensure a brighter future for their children.’

Finally, he touched on gyms when it comes to young players. He has raised his voice and given advice to young coaches many times, but it seems that some are not giving up on it:

‘If it were up to me, I would prevent players from entering fitness or gyms early because, based on what I have seen during my career, it brings various side effects,’ said Halilović, and he continues to closely follow everything happening in basketball, not missing games from the FavBet Premier League, EuroLeague, ABA League…

Therefore, every word he says carries weight, and the question is who will recognize and practice what he has been collecting and presenting for years.

Sarajevo, panel o košarci: Mario Primorac, Božo Maljković, Toni Kukoč, Željko Pavličević, Rusmir Halilović i Željko Jerkov

We are reproducing the text from T-portal, author: Vlado Radičević, 20.10.2023.