Remember how St. John's coach Steve Lavin went to see Amar Alibegovic just before the Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) team went to play the Under-20 European FIBA?
That Bosnian team won their tournament, going undefeated and hoisting the trophy as winners of the U-20 Group B after knocking off Belgium in the final 76-70. No, the Bosnians did not face the big dogs of Europe, like Group A champion Turkey, runners-up Spain, or the countries that surround Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia.
How did Amar Alibegovic do?
Amar Alibegovic didn't get many minutes on a very good Bosnia & Herzegovina team that won the gold medal in the U-20 championships, defeating Belgium and University of Miami guard Manu LeComte.
We asked Christophe of European Prospects who was on hand --
@ECoastBias just played 1 minute in the final so not much to report about— EuropeanProspects (@ChristopheEPcom) August 7, 2014
Playing behind tournament MVP Jusuf Nurkic* and Stefan Glogovac, Alibegovic didn't take a shot in either the finals or semifinals (vs Ukraine).
Still, Alibegovic, who is visiting St. John's, played in all eight games for Bosnia. And in the earlier contests, Alibegovic got some good run, scoring very efficiently inside the arc - nailing 79% of his shots on jump shots and dunks, according to the box scores. His three-point stroke was decent, and he finished the tournament with a 35% connection rate from beyond the arc.
He averaged 5 points per game in 14 minutes of play per contest.
Alibegovic also grabbed 22 rebounds, for an average of just under three per game.
Still, against Cyprus, Estonia and Luxembourg, he scored double digits in points - 11, 12 and 10 respectively - and maxed out at 25 minutes against Luxembourg. His three-point shooting is skewed by a 1/5 outing against Estonia, but he also hit 3/3 outside the arc against Cyprus.
Alibegovic is a player Steve Lavin is looking at to fill out the big man rotation for St. John's this fall after the graduations of Orlando Sanchez and Jakarr Sampson.
From his game stats, Alibegovic is a player who will need his teammates to find him spotting up for shots; he didn't seem to create his made shots on his own, nor did he grab many offensive rebounds. He did block some shots, hit his threes, and can dunk (according to the FIBA scorekeepers).
Even as a shooting role player, for St. John's he would bring some size and skill to a team that could use more of both. The Johnnies already have aggressive guards who can generate shots; the players around those guards have to take advantage of openings and supplement that scoring.
* Nurkic is the 16th pick in this year's NBA Draft, now signed by the Denver Nuggets and labeled a traitor by his National team coach - but that's another story.