Everyone knows the Slovenian wonderkid Luka Dončić and his unbelievable achievements at such a young age. Because of Luka’s success, many talented Slovenians choose to follow his path and chase their dreams abroad. Nevertheless, there are still talented youngsters playing in the land of the European champions and we decided to present ten prospects born between 2001 and 2003.
Stepan Gontar, Zlatorog Laško
Center | 2002 | 214 cm
One of the most intriguing prospects is definitely Stepan Gontar. Last season, tall Russian center played in First Slovenian league (SKL) for former Euroleague participant Zlatorog Laško, where he got 11 minutes per game. In February, he also joined Cedevita Olimpija for ANGT in Belgrad, where he had a chance to show his talent. He is a legit 7 footer, but still runs the floor pretty well and is mobile on both ends of the floor. Knows how to position himself when rebounding, but needs to put on some weight and thoughen up a little when fighting for a position. He is not a classic center who only operates in the paint, but can also make mid range shots, even hitting one three pointer last season. He is still very raw at this point, but after Jusuf Nurkić and Alen Omić, he could be the next Laško’s bigman reaching (in Nurkić’s case at least) Euroleague level.
Saša Ciani, Koper Primorska
Power forward | 2003 | 205 cm
In the past, Slovenia had an amazing depth on power forward position with players like Erazem Lorbek, Matjaž Smodiš, Uroš Slokar and even Boštjan Nachbar in a small ball lineup. But at the moment, Slovenia is struggling down low and Saša Ciani could be the one who will fill the position for the next 10-15 years. He has a very nice frame that will fill out nicely and he is still growing. Ciani is a very dominant rebounder, which he also demonstrated last summer at the U16 European championship, where he averaged 13,4 points and 11,6 rebounds per game (best rebounder of the tournament). He was a part of a Primorska’s senior team last season and even got a few minutes in the ABA league. He still has to expand his game but given how he was developing physically in the last few years, we could see him having a bigger role this year, maybe even playing some decent minutes in the regional league.
Egor Sytnikov, Cedevita Olimpija
Guard | 2002 | 193 cm
Surely the most electriyfing player on this list. Played for the Olimpija’s development team in the Third Slovenian league last season where he averaged 11.8 points per game. He is really explosive and possesses an amazing vertical leap, which helped him frequently posterizing defenders even at the senior level. Sytnikov was very good at ANGT (tournaments best five) in Belgrade this year, averaging 18.5 points (2nd best scorer) per game. Also showed his shooting range there, hitting 3.5 three pointers per game (43.8 3P%). Has the tools to be an elite perimeter defender but is still very skinny and we will need to bulk up a little in the next few years.
Rok Radović, Cedevita Olimpija
Swingman | 2001 | 199 cm
Long term project for Olimpija. Radović was loaned to OKK Beograd last season to get experiences on a senior level but unfortunately got injured in December. After rehabilitation, he joined Olimpija to play in SKL, but after his first appearance against Helios Suns, the season was called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. He is good at driving to the basket and a capable passer, but will have to expand his shooting range if he wants to make in to the next level. Could be a solid two-way player and he already showed solid rebounding instincts. It looks like he will be slowly incorporated in Olimpija’s rotation this season but it remains to be seen how many minutes he can get in the ABA league/Eurocup.
Dan Duščak, Cedevita Olimpija
Point guard | 2002 | 185 cm
One of the Slovenians who followed Dončić’s path and joined the youth ranks of Real Madrid few years ago. Real’s academy graduate returned to Slovenia this summer, where he signed a long term contract with Olimpija.
He is not as tall as some of the modern point guards, but he makes up for it with his aggressivenes. He is an excellent defender with great defensive insticts, regularly getting steals with good anticipation. If he wants to make it to the highest level, he will have to improve on offense though. Is very team oriented on that end of the floor, always looking for open teammates. Showed solid court vision but he will have to become more dangerous when penetrating and improve his outside shooting. Could also greatly benefit from experienced Roko Leni Ukić who will definitely take him under his wing. For now, it looks like Dusčak will be a part of the roster for the upcoming season, but we will see how many minutes he will earn.
Alen Malovčič, Cedevita Olimpija
Forward | 2002 | 199 cm
Olimpija loaned him out last season to a second tier side Ilirija. Malovčič was their top scorer (14.8 PPG) and league’s second best rebounder (8.9 RPG). Malovčič is fairly athletic and strong for his age, but at the moment he lacks versatility in his game. He will have to put a lot of work on his outside shooting because it could really limit his game at the higher level. Great rebounder for his position, who also actively crashes offensive glass. Based on his last season performances for Ilirija, he is ready to play in First league, but his ultimate upside really depends on how much will he able to develop his outside shooting.
Bine Prepelič, Helios Suns
Forward | 2001 | 200 cm
Klemen Prepelič was one of the hottest free agents this summer, but not many know that he also has a younger cousin Bine who already played in the ABA 2 league last season. He was a top scorer of their youth team (they were first placed before the outburst) and is eager to earn a bigger role in the senior team.
Prepelič is naturally really strong and he will easily add more muscles to his frame in the future. He is a good rebounder and a solid defender, but will still have to work on his lateral quickness and footwork. He needs to become more versatile on offense, but has a solid outside shot and knows how to find open teammates. It would not be surprising if he comes back even stronger this summer and he will probably see increased minutes this season in ABA 2 league.
Staš Sivka, Rogaška
Guard | 2003 | 202 cm
Sivka debuted in a senior team at the age of 15 and already got a chance in the ABA 2 league last season. He is long and skinny guard who is still growing into his body. Has a natural feel for the game and a solid jumpshot, but at the moment he is still somehow limited because he is lacking strength. Due to financial reasons, Rogaška decided to not play in the ABA 2 league next season which means that they will probably have less depth in the roster and Sivka could get more minutes.
Luka Tekavčič, Cedevita Olimpija
Forward | 2002 | 204 cmn
Another prospect that Olimpija recruited to their youth program. Tekavčič played for development team in the Third Slovenian league last season, averaging 9.6 points per game. He is really long and quite athletic forward who is mostly playing outside. Has a solid technique and offball movement but will have to develop more consistent jumpshot for a senior level. Still a raw prospect but has the physical tools for a solid career. He could benefit a lot if he would play in the Second league this season, but it remains to be seen if Olimpija will loan him out.
Luka Medved, Krka
Forward | 2001 | 200 cm
Medved showed that he can already play in First Slovenian league (9 games played last season, averaging 13 minutes per game). Had a strong ABA junior tournament last season (19.2 PPG), where he again demonstrated that he can be dangerous beyond the arc too. It will be interesting to see if he will go on a loan this season, because as of now, it doesn’t seem like coach Anzulović could give him any meaningful minutes.