Announced by FIBA Europe on January 21, Dario Saric, who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, is the new Young Men’s Player of the Year.
Saric joins Jonas Valanciunas and Ricky Rubio as the only players to receive this award multiple times. This is actually the second year in a row that Saric has won this award. The winners are decided by a fan vote and a panel of experts. There were a couple other NBA players in the running for the award as the table shows:
Dario Saric had a remarkable and eventful year to help him take home the award. Saric led Cibona Zagreb to a championship in the Adriatic League while putting together an MVP performance in the final four. Afterwards, Saric averaged 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with Croatia’s national team as they made a run in the World Cup to the round of 16. On top of all that, he went to Istanbul to play for Anadolu Efes and then was selected in the NBA draft by the Orlando Magic and later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel had this to say about Saric:
“I congratulate Dario Saric, winner of the FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year Award,” Demirel said.
“Dario joins elite company by winning this award in back-to-back years. In 2014, with his impressive performance for Croatia at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, and his strong play for Cibona Zagreb and Anadolu Efes, Dario showed that he is on his way to being one of our sports’ biggest stars in Europe and throughout the world.”
FIBA Regional Director Europe Kamil Novak also added this:
“Dario Saric has been at the forefront of the men’s game in Europe already for some time now, so it is easy to forget that he is still only 20 years old,” commented Novak.
“I have been watching his development for some time and I am sure I have only witnessed the beginnings of what is set to be a remarkable career.”
Saric may be coming to the NBA next year to join the 76ers. He will definitely be welcomed in Philadelphia with all of the success he’s having and it would mean a scary lineup for the Sixers as well. Having MCW, Saric, Noel, and Embiid all in the same lineup is a crazy amount of height and length on the court at one time. Saric has shown that he can do it all and he can even handle the ball when necessary. The Sixers could benefit big time from getting Saric on the court, and they could even get Jordan McRae back after a high-scoring season in the Australian league.