European Prospects

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Marko Pajić and Jaka Blažič – important pieces of Geoplin Slovan (Pt. 1)

December 16th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Slovenian Coach Luka Bassin continues to send us interesting and highly-detailed scouting reports on the prospects of his country. Today we start a 2 articles series on the players from Geoplin Slovan. Let’s go Coach Bassin.

(Luka Bassin) – Marko Pajić and Jaka Blažič are important pieces of Geoplin Slovan, one of the youngest teams in Slovenian league and team loaded with prospects. Slovan is the team who is well known as the team who recruits interesting prospects from Slovenia and Europe (Jan Vesely was member of Slovan for couple of years) and makes them good senior level players. Both players, Pajič and Blažič, were recruited by former coach Miro Alilović and now are under other well experienced coach Gašper Okorn (was coach of Union Olimpija in Euroleague three years ago).

Marko Pajić started his career in small team from a suburb of Ljubljana Komenda and moved to Slovan before the 2008-09 season as 16-year-old prospect. Last year was very good for him (even if he was injured for a couple of months in December and January) when he played, as loan player, for Triglav Kranj in 1b division, averaging 14.8ppg and 5.8rpg in almost 30 minutes on the floor. At the same time he was MVP of Slovenian U18 championship F4 in Postojna where he averaged 22ppg and 10rpg.

In meantime he was a two-time member of Slovenian U18 national team at championships in France and Lithuania. At the last one, this summer in Lithuania, he finished the competition in double-double average of 11.8ppg and 10.0rpg, being one of the most important players of the team.

Marko Pajić is playing the power forward position (204 cm) with clear intention of coach Okorn to move him to small forward position in future.

He is an aggressive, all-around player with a »big heart« and lots of energy. He is fighter who wants to win badly on all occasions. He is strong physically but needs to develop his explosiveness in feet (he is not quick enough in first step, no matter we are talking offense or defense) and put some muscles on his shoulders and arms.

From a technical point of view he is good in general but must work on dribbling skills, passing lanes and quicker release in his shot, especially if he wants to play on small forward position in future. Tactically he has no problems and understands the main principles of defense and offense.


Fastbreak and transition: He is pretty good runner and can finish fastbreaks as first man in the middle or as wing man. As second trailer, he can set good screens for pick’n’roll (or pop) opportunities or can receive the ball at the top and finish with long distance shot, penetration or hand-off. He needs to work on ballhandling skills so he can be even a ballhandler after his own rebound in defensive end.

ISO-penetration: He can penetrate, especially to his right side, from the dribble or triple-threat position, but has problems with faster defensive men. Lately, he barely uses his penetration and as a consequence he has just few opportunities to be fouled and shot free-throws (he is an excellent free-throw shooter). When he drives he can go all the way to the rim or make spin-move to the left and finish with good pivot skills.

Shot: He is a really good spot-up shooter, especially from behind the arc but can shoot well also from high-post or wing position. He has very good footwork and is ready to catch and shoot all the time. The same goes for pick’n’pop situations. Lately he is maybe counting too much on his shooting skills. He can shoot also from the dribble when he can not beat his opponent with the drive. His release is high but needs to be quicker and, of course, his shot selection is still in progress.

Post-up moves: He uses post-up moves in mismatches. He rather goes baseline but can also use dribble moves to the heart of the paint (especially from left block) where he uses his stationary power and good back-to-the-basket dribbling skills and finishes with smooth up-and-under moves or nice hooks. He needs to work on passing to perimeter players when he finds himself in double-team or other troubles. In mismatches he is very experienced and can receive a lob-pass when he is guarded in front. Many times he uses face-to-the-basket plays where he can attack the middle with a cross step or shot the early jumper or even some kind of fade-away shots. And he is good at it.

Pick’n’roll game: He sets quite good screens and is very good pick’n’pop player. He already plays sometimes as ballhandler in pick situations, but must work on and develop this part of game if he wants to be good small forward.

Spacing and cutting: He can find good spots behind three-point line and open passing lane when he follows teammates action. On the other hand he can follow extremely well by cutting to right places too. He can cut from short corner or high-post position with good timing and hands-up and can make some easy baskets at every game.

Passing skills and assists: I already said that he needs to work on passing to perimeter players when he post-ups. But he has very nice passing when he receives the ball at high post position and can feed the big guy under the rim or pass to guards on perimeter position. He can make one dribble to push defense to help and then dishes nice and strong enough pass to shooters.

Offensive rebound: He has a will and determination to go to offensive rebound, he has feeling and is focused on it. With these attributes he overcomes some physical deficits and is a very dangerous rebounder. He never gives up and many times grabs his own missed shot ball and finishes strong under the rim.


Defensive transition: He can run and has abilities to be back at the right time, but sometimes he is just too high around middle line trying to stop ballhandlers instead of being under the rim preventing easy lay-ups.

Rebound: He has no problems with defensive rebound since he has good stationary strength and good box-out position. Besides that, he is focused. After a rebound, he can make a quick first pass but in order to become better he must work also on quick baseball passes after rebound, since everyone like baseball, and that’s why getting games tickets is important for many people, but they can learn about this, in the dodgers schedule in case  they’re Dodgers fans.

Back-to-the-basket defense: More or less he has no problems with it since he has good height and is strong enough to defend players under the rim. The only thing he is not so good is his defensive stand where he is a little bit too high, so opponents use this opportunity to drive around him.

1:1 defense from perimeter position: This is the worst part of his defense. His lateral movement is too slow at the moment and his first reaction to the side is not fast enough. He finds himself in position to foul many times. Anyway, he has problems against lower and faster players to guard them 1:1 from perimeter positions.

Helping, rotating: In general he has no problem with understanding the main principles of helping and rotating but is sometimes too slow to catch his player due to his quickness and too high defensive position.

Pick’n’roll defence: Since he is aggressive and communicates well, he is successful in defending pick’n’roll situations. His advantage in the future could be aggressive switching no matter he plays versus ballhandler or roll-man.

Comparasion: Novica Veličković

His current stats in Telemach league are: 7.8ppg, 3.4rpg and 7.9rkg in 17.35 minutes on the floor.

In the second part of the article, Luka Bassin will present you Jaka Blažič.

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