It has been seven years since Union Olimpija started a Euroleague season with two victories and the same amount of time since the pride of Ljubljana reached the Top 16. Basketball fever never left the Slovenian capital, but this week it will reach some of its highest temperatures ever, with the new 13,000-seat Stozice Arena sold out a week in advance of Olimpija’s showdown Thursday with Panathinaikos for first place in Group D of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season.

One man who has everything to do with Olimpija’s early-season resurgence is Goran Jagodnik, who is Euroleague Basketball’s choice as Sportingbet MVP for October. Having returned to Slovenia this season after 11 years abroad, the 35-year-old forward has made his a homecoming to remember so far.

Jagodnik’s scoring late in the team’s opening game helped Olimpija pull out an inspirational double-overtime victory against mighty Efes Pilsen before 9,000 pumped-up fans at home in Ljubljana. Last week, Jagodnik again saved his best for last, with 12 points in the final 11 minutes of another comeback, this time to beat Armani Jeans Milano in what was Olimpija’s first Euroleague road win in 21 months.

Among players on the seven teams undefeated through two games, Jagodnik ranks first in scoring with 20 points per game and second in performance index rating with 18.5 on average. He concentrated those great stats into late-game heroics that unexpectedly have Olimpija as a group co-leader, making Goran Jagodnik a more-than-logical Sportingbet MVP for October!