The man who scored the most points ever in a single-game final for the continental club title, Zarko Varajic, passed away at the age of 67 in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.
Varajic made history on April 5, 1979, in Grenoble, France, where his Bosna Sarajevo club went up against mighty Varese of Italy, the defending champion, which was playing in its 10th straight continental final, having won four titles until then. Bosna, in contrast, had been in the second division in Yugoslavia just seven years earlier. But on this night, Varajic joined his more celebrated teammate, Mirza Delibasic, in making Bosna the first team from the former Yugoslavia to win the EuroLeague, outgunning Varese 96-93 in the highest-scoring continental title game between 1970 and 2004. Nobody before or since has eclipsed the 45 points that Varajic scored individually that night. Delibasic followed him with 30, the two combining for 78% of Bosna’s scoring. Svetislav Pesic, the current FC Barcelona Lassa head coach, also played in that game for Bosna.
“And without three-pointers!” Varajic told Vladimir Stankovic of EuroLeague.net in an interview in 2008. “After making my first two baskets, I felt real sure of myself. It was one of the those days shooters sometimes have when they know it’s their time, when you almost can’t miss.”
Varajic played his entire professional career with Bosna except one season late in his career, which was spent with Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. He also played for the Yugoslav national team, with which he won a gold medal at EuroBasket 1977 in Belgium and silver at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.