Confident Bulut 'fears no one' as he leads new-look 3x3 powerhouse Novi Sad
NOVI SAD (Serbia) - Much uncertainty surrounds the new-look Novi Sad ahead of the 10th edition of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour starting in Doha next week, but some things remain the same.
Dusan Bulut aka 'Mr Bullutproof' has clearly not lost his swagger as he said he feared no team in an ominous warning to rivals, who have seemingly relished the prospect of jumping past the new-look Serbs.
3x3's off-season has been dominated by the sudden split-up of four-time World Tour Final champs Novi Sad, who have been the undisputed powerhouse longer than a Quentin Tarantino film. But they disappointed during last year's shortened season and were overtaken by rivals Riga and Liman.
It led to the departures of superstars Marko Savic and Dejan Majstorovic, who have both joined Ub.
Many are writing off Novi Sad's chances of staying elite, but the supreme confidence of Bulut should have opponents wary.
"I don't fear no one," he said. "Until I know I got answers against everybody that I play against, we will see who is the hardest puzzle."
Bulut, as always, remains the key for Novi Sad and will continue a deadly one-two punch with big fella Tamas Ivosev. Marko Milakovic and Strahinja Milosevic have the almost impossible task of replacing Savic and Majstorovic ahead of the Doha Masters on March 26-27.
In their first outing, they had mixed success in the United League Europe's first stop in Russia with tight victories over BC Samara and Gagarin before falling to eventual finalist Tri Zvezdochki 19-17.
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The 1.91m (6ft 3in) Bulut admitted Novi Sad remained a work in progress both on-and-off the court and needed more work to catch up to the machine-like Riga and Liman.
What are the hardest challenges for this brand new team?
"Not having time to prepare, not knowing each other on the court and listening to Marko Milakovic's music," he said.
"Sure we want to be in position where they (Liman and Riga) are now, but they are light years in front of us.
"Game by game, event after event….let's see how far we can go."
Bulut, 35, revealed he had still not totally gotten over Novi Sad's emotional break up but believed it would have a silver lining.
"Everybody had different directions, family (situations), visions and other accomplishments they wanted to achieve," he said.
"I am still not in a comfortable situation, but every bad thing in life gives you an opportunity somewhere else."
Novi Sad will be in the unusual position of not being among the favorites at the loaded Doha Masters headlined by Riga, Liman, NY Harlem and the much-anticipated Ub.
But it would be foolish to write off any team with Bulut, who is still 3x3's David Blaine.
"I am always fresh as juice,” he said. "We can beat anyone but also lose to anyone.
"We will give our best…and have fun."