Drazen Petrovic Rumors
Knicks center Willy Hernangomez would love to be teammates again with Luka Doncic. The question is which NBA jersey either will be wearing next season. The 6-foot-6 Doncic, playing for Real Madrid, is slated as a high lottery pick in June. Hernangomez, who played with Doncic on the Spanish League power in 2015-16 after being traded from Seville, compares him — as others have — to former Nets great Drazen Petrovic.
The 1992 U.S. Dream Team is largely credited with starting a revolution across European basketball. For the NBA, though, the revolution came a few years earlier. In 1989, the league welcomed a wave of eastern European players led by Vlade Divac from Yugoslavia, Alexander Volkov from Russia, Drazen Petrovic from Croatia, and Sarunas Marciulionis, a 25-year-old shooting guard from Lithuania. Marciulionis adopted basketball as a full-time passion midway through his childhood. But even as he took to the game, it wasn’t clear that he’d be a superstar. While friends like Arvydas Sabonis were marked for a bright future early on, Marciulionis took longer to establish himself. He went to college and studied journalism, he played club basketball in Lithuania, and while the Soviet National Team monitored his progress as part of its juniors program, he was cut from the senior team three times throughout the 80s.
One of the most important personalities in the history of European basketball, the now retired, 74-year-old Ivkovic had coached most (if not all) prominent players incubated in the heart of the Balkan peninsula, while at the helm of the national teams of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Including Kukoc and the late Drazen. “He’s (Doncic) a phenomenon. Drazen Petrovic played “1” and Toni Kukoc from “1” to “4”. I believe that neither of them played so maturely when they were 18, as Doncic plays now,” Ivkovic said with a tone of certainty, while interviewed by Greek Cosmote TV.