Luka Šamanić Makes NBA Debut for San Antonio Spurs

Daniela Rogulj

Luka Šamanić left a positive impression in the San Antonio Spurs jersey at the start of the NBA Summer League. The young Croatian basketball player scored 11 points and seven rebounds to win against the Cleveland Cavaliers 97:89, reports on July 2, 2019.

In his first match after the draft, Luka Šamanić showed skills that confirmed why the San Antonio Spurs had chosen him as the 19th pick.

“I was nervous,” said Croatian basketball player, who originally hails from Zagreb.

“It was my first NBA match. I was excited but nervous… it just took some time,” he added.

After his nerves calmed, the 19-year-old player showed his promising potential. He managed 4/7 shots in play, including a key three-pointer and dunk in the last two minutes.

“At first everything went very fast and I was trying to focus on where I was going, who is my shooter, who isn’t, and help defend. Then in the second half, it was a lot better,”  said Šamanić for the US media.

Šamanić was also praised by Blake Ahearn, the coach of San Antonio in the Summer League.

“The man can jump – it surprised me. I like that he is aggressive,” said Ahearn.

The most effective for the Spurs was Lonnie Walker, last year’s draft pick, who scored 20 points and achieved 8/12 shots in play. 

Walker even praised Luka: “Luka has shown that every time he goes to the hoop he wants to dunk, and that’s great.”

Šamanić’s jumping skills didn’t just surprise Ahearn and Walker: “I think a lot of people don’t expect that of me,” added the young Croatian player.

“At this level, you have to be top-rated, and all three of our novices managed in their own way. If you want to survive in this league, you have to do that,” Ahearn added.

Recall, Šamanić was selected by the Spurs in this year’s draft as the 19th pick, and immediately joined the team in the Summer League. In Las Vegas, the Croatian national team will play in their first match on Friday against the Detroit Piston.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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