Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball will face a setback next season when junior-to-be Nikola Rakićević will not return to the team this fall. Rakićević’s departure is on medical grounds, primarily with his knee issues.
Rakićević has spent the last two seasons with the Bulls as a bench asset in the rotation. Most notably, the Smederevska Palanka, Serbia native gained more minutes at the end of last season for his defensive intensity.
Nikola averaged 2.6 points per game with a decent 42.6% field goal percentage in his final season donning the blue and white. Twice he matched his career best in points (14) when UB faced Delaware in the 2015-16 season and Kent State on the road in the 2017-18 season.
This departure leaves some roster questions to keep in mind and give the team some options. With Rakićević’s departure there’s now an open scholarship. Former Missouri point guard Wes Clark has been without a scholarship since he transferred this spring.
Nate Oats and co. have three options here. They could give Clark the scholarship, invest in a late summer commit and grab a forward to provide much needed depth, or save the scholarship for this upcoming year’s recruiting class.
Regardless, Rakićević’s departure may not have as big of implications compared to offseason changes in the past, but it will still affect the team in the short term. Buffalo will have to manage this departure and the graduations of Blake Hamilton, Willie Conner, David Kadiri, and Raheem Johnson.
We wish Nikola the best of luck on all of his future endeavors.