Helped by a strong showing at the draft combine last month, we look at the game of Croatian international forward Luka Samanic, who’s in prime position to be taken in this year’s NBA Draft.
While the 2019 NBA Draft doesn’t boast a headlining, face of the franchise-like star like last year from an international sense, this year’s crop of draft prospects who hail from overseas who are set to jump to the next level are an interesting, promising bunch.
Our first international prospect breakdown heading into this year’s draft centers around 19-year-old forward Luka Samanic, who hails from Zagreb, Croatia.
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Samanic comes from a basketball pedigree as his father, Marko, was a long-time player overseas and Luka had a front row seat into what life is like as a basketball player from an early age.
As much as basketball has been prevalent throughout his life, Samanic branched out into other sports in his early childhood, playing handball, tennis, football and yes, even breakdancing.
But eventually, Samanic took to basketball and as he told Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, the 19-year-old believes his sporting experiences outside of basketball has influenced the player he is today:
"“If I started counting for you, it would be 10 sports I’ve played at a competitive level. Handball, tennis, football, I also did break dance when I was younger. Anything you can imagine, whatever my friends were playing I was joining. Football helped me with my running and my speed. I was just the tallest and the quickest, it helped me a lot with what I am now.”"
While he certainly has more development in his future, Samanic has gained plenty of experience playing for both club and country and was even named MVP during Croatia’s gold medal run during the FIBA Europe U-18 Championship two years ago. Now he’s looking to take the next step in his burgeoning basketball career by entering the NBA Draft and enjoying what life in America has to offer.
Across all competitions with Union Olimpija this year, Samanic averaged 7.9 points on .484/.338/.722 shooting splits, 4.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists in his 50 appearances across 18.4 minutes per contest.
So without further ado, let’s delve into what all Luka Samanic has to offer, ranging from his strongsuits, the concerns surrounding him at this stage, how draft experts rate him and examine his potential fit with the Milwaukee Bucks.