Don’t look now, but Zalgiris might make some noise in the Euroleague after a year of hibernation. On Saturday they announced that Union Olimpija’s 23-year-old Slovenian big man Mirza Begic would be joining them in the paint for three years. This signing comes on the heels of Paulius Jankunas’ departure to BC Khimki, and Begic–along with former Euroleague rebounding champion Travis Watson–should instantly give them one of the best frontcourts in Group A. Just Imagine the damage they could have done if Jankunas (and now-Zaragoza center Loren Woods, for that matter) would have stayed along for the ride.
Begic averaged 1.6 blocks in 10 Euroleague games last year–good for 3rd best in the regular season–and after averaging 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds two years ago, he bumped his line up to 11.1 and 6.1 last season. Along with the offense, the defense, and the room for growth, Zalgiris is getting some of the best young feet in Europe; Begic treats his pivot foot like a loaded gun and he whips out up-and-unders that would make Kevin McHale proud (watch him go to work below). And in case you were thinking about to slap the Euro-big stereotype on him, think again: he’s a tough customer who has taken exactly ZERO three-pointers in his two Euroleague seasons. He understands his strengths and he’s determined to beat you with his best stuff. Frankly, it’s quite refreshing.