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Living in America: Dragan Sekelja (Baylor)

September 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

One of the most interesting big men of the recent U18 European Championships, the Croatian Dragan Sekelja chose to go the United States and selected the Baylor Bears as his future destination. The 2m10 tall Center, who played for the Cibona Zagreb youth sections before, is one of the very talented Europeans who preferred the American way to build their basketball career during the next years.

Sekelja is first of all a long and strong inside player. He likes to play in the post and has a nice arsenal of back to the basket moves. One of his favorite moves is a spin move where he first brings his defender with a left handed dribble to the middle while then turning around him with a spin to score an underhand layup. This move, he showed several times during the European Championship.

He recognizes pretty well when in these situations the help defense comes so that he either goes for the fake or tries to go under the rim for the layback or the foul call. He scored some very difficult buckets in these situations. His moves are pretty quick for a player of his size and when he is defended by taller guys, he is also able to take them facing the basket. As you can see in the next video, a spin move is also present in this attack to go around his defender.

Sekelja can also take his player out to the three point line, where he has a shot but that does not fall right now and is not looking very good either. But with his nice speed, he can beat his guy from there and eventually also go for a dunk on a baseline drive. However, Sekelja is really a player who is working a lot on the floor and not a high flyer. Fakes, extra step, pivoting, he has really good basics on the floor and knows how to use them against more athletic guys too. Due to his physical presence, he is a decent rebounder but more on his boxing out than grabbing the balls above the rim.

Sekelja needs to work on his ball handling if he wants to play more facing the basket in the next years. He has no real left handed dribble at all right now, you could see him attacking the basket from the left side dribbling the ball on his right hand. He can finish close to the basket with his left, but largely prefers the moves where he gets an open look for his right hand. He is not the strongest guy and gets put out of balance quite a few times. But his emotional and physical playing style helps him to overcome some of his weaknesses. He is also a correct passer out of the post to feed the cutters but this was not used that much by his Croatian National Team recently.

Defensively, he did not show particular weaknesses in defending the post players. His lateral speed is of course not lethal but despite being not particularly athletic, he is quite a nice shot blocker especially on the help side to stop driving guards. As mentioned before, he is fundamentally sound rebounder and he may even sometimes go for a coast-to-coast fast break on his own out of these situations where he can use his speed.

Sekelja is certainly more valuable than what the US Scouting website have on him, which is barely nothing. He is one of the better European big men of the 1991 generation and he will certainly have an interesting impact in a strong Big12 conference.

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