European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

Marko Pajić and Jaka Blažič – important pieces of Geoplin Slovan (Pt. 2)

December 18th, 2010 · No Comments

After having introduced Marko Pajić on Thursday, Luka Bassin gives today his scouting report on another Geoplin Slovan prospect: Jaka Blažič.

(Luka Bassin) – Second player from this couple is the older one: Jaka Blažič who is already 20 years old but we can talk about him as late bloomer or the one who needed more time to come to play at higher level.

We are talking about a 1m96 tall combo guard who originally plays at point guard position but with already two prospects on same position (Rupnik ’93 and Zadnik ’90), he was forced to move to the shooting guard position.

Jaka Blažič started to play basketball and his career in Triglav in his native city Kranj. He played for all age-category of the team and started to play for the first team back in 2007-08 season in 1b division. Next season he attracted attention of many experts, averaging 10.7ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.0apg in 21 and half minutes on court in 1b division and earning call to play for U20 national team at EC U20 in Greece. Right after Blažič signed his first professional agreement and became part of Geoplin Slovan team. He didn’t adapt to first class senior basket easily and had many problems during the season. He played a couple of good games but otherwise he made many mistakes during games. He was averaging 3.8 points with bad percentage in more than 10 minutes on court. Coach Alilovič »waited« for him and just when it looked he overcame troubles he got injured and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Because of that he lost his spot in u-20 national team but had time to prepare himself during summer and started new 2010-11 season healthy and ready to shine.

New coach Okorn also saw Blažič as big prospect and decided to give him another chance and a lot of minutes. Blažič started the season with a good game against LTH Cast and then struggled again until he started to play good basketball in late November and played the best game of the season last week against Helios with 18 points (4/4 from behind the arc), 4 rebounds and 20 ranking. It could be »the click« and turnaround of his career.

In eight games of this season Jaka Blažič averaged 6.9ppg, 2.6rpg and 0.5apg in 17 minutes on the court.

Jaka has a good basketball body with long arms and he is explosive and fast. He has a lot of space to improve when we talk about muscles. Sometimes he is not aggressive enough and lacks self-confidence. He is well coordinated. His overall technique is quite good. He understands basketball in general and is tactically ok.


Fastbreak and transition: Jaka is very good in a fast-paced game, especially as wing man. He knows exactly when and where to run, and can finish with the nice lay-up (he is inventive even when there is a defensive player in the paint) or dunk and can create some advantage with change of pace and body fakes. He can also read the defense and can finish with a jump-shot or long range shot when there is an opportunity. He must develop his transition game as ballhandler and his decision making how and when to pass to open teammates. Other than that he can bring the ball to offensive end very fast.

ISO-penetration: One of his strengths is definitely good penetration. He can penetrate left or right (he is better to right side). He uses good shot and penetration fakes to move his defender from ideal position and off-balance, and has very low triple-threat position. His first step is quick enough to beat opponent and he can finish close to the basket. He must add two-feet-stop and pivoting when he attacks bigger guys close to basket. He attacks also from the dribble where he mostly uses body fakes and cross-overs.

SHOT: He is a good shooter when we talk about mid-range shooting creating from pick situations, from the dribble or after off-screens (he uses screens very good, he is patient to find the best solution). He has very good footwork and uses his explosive feet to jump very high in jump shot situations. He is a good spot-up shooter too, but struggles lately with his three-point shot (ok, he went 4 out of 4 at last game but he didn’t score for 3 at all the whole season before). I think it is just the matter of self-confidence because his shot technique is just fine.

Post-up: He is not using it but sure can in the future. Lack of aggressiveness causes it but nowadays trends will push him to add this element into his game.

Pick’n’roll game: He is very good at it. Even more – I think that pick’n’roll game is his biggest strength. He has good timing to use screens, he is very fluid and inventive and he has several solutions at every pick’n’roll possession. His best solution is to create the jump shot from the dribble from mid-range (he is better when he is going right). He can also drive to the basket and finds good solution to pass when defense commits but is not perfect in it. At the moment he has some problems against very aggressive defenses but will overcome problems with experiences. He uses hand-offs on the same way.

He understands elementary principles of spacing and cutting so he can create advantage and find good space to help his teammates find good open passing lanes.

He needs to work on decision making and passing. The number of assists is low but I’m sure it would be higher if he plays at point guard position.

Offensive rebound: He has the physical quality to rebound but needs to be more aggressive. He could use his wing-span and explosive jump to grab some offensive boards.


Defensive transition: He has no problem with it since he is not going for offensive rebound often and is in defense at the right time and knows where and when to stop the opponent’s transition.

Rebound: Lack of aggressiveness causes some problems in boxing-out stronger and more aggressive players.

From the same reason he has many problems guarding players at post-up position.

1:1 on perimeter: He can play aggressive full-court defense and can put pressure on ballhandlers. He uses his long arms and quick feet to make problems to his opponents. He has very low defensive stand and he is hard to beat 1:1. He needs to work on handwork even more and use his hands for denying passes.

Pick’n’roll defence: the only problem is that sometimes he is not aggressive enough and is late, but he is better from practice to practice and developing this part. He has all attributes (physical and tactical) to be very good defensive player in general and in future can create more steals.

Comparasion: Sašo Ožbolt from Union Olimpija

Jaka Blažič needs more time to develop aggressiveness and self-confidence but with his attributes he could become very interesting player in the future and I mean interesting for European teams not just Slovenian.

written by Luka Bassin

Luka Bassin played professional basketball in Slovenia and finished Faculty of sports on University Ljubljana. He worked as head coach of High school Gimnazija Bežigrad (Jan Vesely, Bostjan Nachbar, Erazem Lorbek… were students at Gimnazija Bežigrad) and won ISF World championship of High Achools 2001 in Turkey. Made junior Final 8 (NIJT Euroleague) in 2009 and 2010 with Olimpija Ljubljana. Worked with U20 national team as assistant coach and won bronze medal in 2006 in Turkey. Worked with Goran Dragic, Gasper Vidmar, Jaka Klobucar, Emir Preldzic, Mirza Begic… in national teams.

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