Celtics first round pick Ante Zizic (23rd overall in 2016) is changing teams across the Atlantic. He'll be moving from Cibona Zagreb of Croatia to Darussufaka Dogus of the Euroleague. Zizic had established himself as a dominant force playing for Cibona in the ABA. Last season he was named the top prospect in the league, averaging 13.4 points and 8 rebounds a game. The step up in competition will be a steep one, as the Euroleague is one of the more prestigious basketball associations in the world.
According to David Pick, Zizic will essentially be on loan to Darussufaka from a cash strapped Cibona team on a 6-month deal. The move is similar to how European football clubs loan out players to teams in other leagues. Cibona will retain their rights to Zizic at the conclusion of the deal, and it doesn't effect his situation with the Celtics as they could still bring him to Boston next season should they choose to.
A couple of interesting notes about Darussufaka: David Blatt, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers, happens to be head coach of the team. This was certainly good news to Celtics coach Brad Stevens who certainly knows Blatt, and is now just a phone call (text) away from hearing about his potential weapon of the future:
Stevens said he texted David Blatt after Celtics draft pick Ante Zizic signed with Blatt's team.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) December 27, 2016
Darussufaka also has a lineup littered with former NBA players, two of which happen to have been Celtics - Luke Harangody and Semih Erden both play for Blatt.
The step up in competition will be important for Zizic for a number of reasons. He was the best player on his former team, often the best player on the court. Now he'll have to fight for his minutes, and for a regular role on his new team. Should Zizic end up in Boston next season that's exactly what he's going to have to do anyway, so it's a good preparation. Taking a giant leap from the ABA to the NBA would have been a massive uptick in competition, and now the Euroleague offers him a step in-between.
Darussufaka wasted no time in introducing their new prize to their fans:
He makes that hoop look like it's at 7 feet. I'm really looking forward to seeing that monster in green. Just imagining the possibilities:
Related - Dino Radja is in town and loves what he's seeing from Ante Zizic overseas
Photo Credit - Elise Amendola/Associated Press
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Mark Allison 12/29/2016 11:30:00 AM Tweet Edit