UB hoops fans got some good news this morning in the commitment of 6'7" Serbian shooting guard Nikola Rakicevic, who joins the Bulls immediately.
Rakicevic will come to Buffalo with ample high-level experience, having played in the Serbian National Team program at at least the 2014 U17 FIBA World Championship and the 2013 U16 European Championship. In the latter, Serbia finished second, with Rakicevic scoring a team-high 19 points in the final against Spain. The highlight video from that day shows a player with size and excellent body control in the lane, able to avoid or absorb contact and still get a shot at the rim:
In 2014 on a world stage, Rakicevic upped the ante, averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds over the tournament, including 19 points against the USA in the semifinal and 17 against Spain in the third-place game. Nikola was the leading Serb in both of those games, as well as in his team's first two group stage matchups against China and Egypt.
This video of the 2014 tournament has fewer highlights than the first, but does show a more well-rounded offensive game from the 6'7" swingman:
Rakicevic was named to the All-Tournament team following USA's victory over Australia, the lone player not from one of the top two countries to earn that distinction.
At the club level, Rakicevic plays for the junior team at KK Crvena Zvezda, an apparently historic club based in Belgrade. A write up from a recent competition this spring describes the 18 year old in Oats-ian terms:
The 1.96-meter guard is not flashy or overly athletic, which allows others to steal the headlines and attention. But Rakicevic was the Serbian player of his generation who was invited to the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in New York City. He does a good job creating scoring opportunities on the drive, where he also can find his teammates. Rakicevic can shoot from the outside and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time with a healthy dose of intensity.
Given Rakicevic' high-level international experience and apparent offensive polish, I expect him to join forward Nick Perkins as freshmen who will contribute immediately to UB's lineup in Nate Oats' first season at the helm.
Update: Got another video sent our way on Twitter. This is from club competition, and so the defense he's working against is sometimes a little suspect, but I enjoyed watching it all the same.
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