European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

Living in America: Nikola Stojiljkovic (USF)

September 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Today we continue our series “Living in America” which presents young Europeans that chose to play in the US College League NCAA next season. Nikola Stojiljkovic is a French forward who comes out of the famous CFBB basketball school and will move to San Francisco this fall.

“Stoj” was a member of the French U18 National Team that won the Silver Medal this summer in Metz. The 2m04 tall player was mostly used as a SF because of his excellent shooting abilities. He can hit the three pointer in any kind of fashion, catch-and-shoot, out of the dribble or even in fade away style. He is mostly a scorer on the wing that is not afraid to take the shot, even if it is not his best day. However, the shots look rarely forced so that this is not a big problem.

Stojiljkovic can also put the ball on the floor and stop his drive to conclude with a nice looking jump shot. He rarely continues his drives until the rim, something that explains also why he does not go to the free-throw line that often. Defensively, Stojiljkovic suffers when he needs to guard smaller or athletic wing players, something that hurt him a lot during his season in the 3rd French division where he faced a lot of short athletic wings. This has also been pointed out by his coach during the U18 European Championship this summer.

He was way better during the European Championship than the whole season with the CFBB. This level is more in line with his playing style. He is a 2m04 tall forward and it is difficult in Nationale 1 especially in defense and because we focus on that, he suffered from it. But he accepted the challenge and now he needs to become a real scorer because he has a good shot.

Nikola is aware of this problem and he told that he wants to progress in that area.

It is mainly on my physical presence that I need to work. I need to become more aggressive and I think that by moving to the United States, I can develop this a lot better.

Additionally, Nikola wants to learn a lot academically which is another reason why he chose to go to the United States.

I want to finish my education with a good diploma, basketball will unfortunately not last for ever. So after one of the USF assistant coaches came to France to scout me 2-3 times, we had very good discussions which were very precise while other Colleges also approached me but did not went that far in their recruiting.

The decision to play for USF however was mainly influenced by the presence of Rex Walters as head coach. Walter has played in the NBA and in Spain which is very important for me.

In the end, Nikola who finished his French High School this summer had not that many alternatives. He could sign as a professional player in the French 2nd division ProB or become a member of a Youth team in the 1st division. But both possibilities would not give him the opportunity to combine the studies with basketball. So we will see how this step will help him to become better; the presence of several other international players will anyhow help him to integrate quickly to his new environment.

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