After Damjan Rudež signed a contract with Orlando Magic, Croatia will now be represented by 7 basketball players in the NBA this season.
The official NBA season begins this Tuesday and Wednesday, and in addition to Rudeža, Croatia will be represented by Bojan Bogdanović, Mario Hezonja, Dario Šarić, Dragan Bender, Ivica Zubac, and Justin Hamilton whose mother is a Croat, reports Index.hr.
Bojan Bogdanović and Justin Hamilton play with the Brooklyn Nets, Dario Šarić is on the Philadelphia 76’ers, Dragan Bender is on the Phoenix Suns, Ivica Zubac on the Los Angeles Lakers, and two Croatian players on Orlando Magic – Damjan Rudež and Mario Hezonja, who last June was the fifth overall pick.
Three Croatians this NBA season are also rookies – Šarić, Bender and Zubac. Šarić has played a very good pre-season in Philadelphia, the fourth selection of the final draft was Bender who achieved 4.6 points and four rebounds for Phoenix, and Zubac will play for the Lakers.
Croatia also has only two players less than all of the other countries in the former Yugoslavia combined.
Serbia is currently represented by Boban Marjanović (Detroit), Nikola Jokić (Denver) and Nemanja Bjelica (Minnesota). Bosnia and Herzegovina is represented by Mirza Teletović (Milwaukee) and Jusuf Nurkić (Denver). Slovenia is represented by Saša Vujačić (New York) and Goran Dragić (Miami), and Montenegro is represented by Nikola Peković (Minnesota) and Nikola Vučević (Orlando).