Spars Sarajevo had visions of reaching the title game of the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT, but winning two games at the ANGT Finals in Madrid should still be considered a success. And the performance of point guard Amar Gegic played a role in that.
“We had big expectations maybe to play in the final,” Gegic said. “But we are not fully satisfied with the two wins. Maybe we can say we achieved at least this goal.”
Gegic admitted that he struggled a bit in Madrid, where he made just 36.8% of his two point shots, 1 of 8 free throws (12.5%) and committed 19 turnovers in three games. But he also ranked sixth at the event with 3.7 assists per game. Gegic also averaged 5.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals and helped Spars beat Zalgiris Kaunas and Unicaja Malaga for their first ever victories at an ANGT Finals. The Bosnian team’s sole loss came against Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade.
“The team played really great,” the promising point guard said. “I didn’t play that well, but overall I am satisfied with how we played.”
What makes Gegic’s play more impressive is the fact that he was one of four Spars players at the 1997 tournament who was born in either 1998 or 1999 along with Darko Bajo (1999), Sani Campara (1999) and Sabahudin Jahic (1998). And Gegic, who was third on Spars in minutes played in Madrid, played more than double the other three underclassmen combined! “All the younger guys are really training hard, including me,” he said. “Every year we are producing great players.”
Gegic also played for Spars in the ANGT qualifying tournament in Rome last season. This year he put up much better numbers in the Rome event with 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.3 steals and 0.5 blocks while committing 3.3 turnovers a game. With Gegic’s help, Spars finished third in Rome and eventually received a wild card for the ANGT Finals in Madrid.
Gegic not only is accomplishing big things for the Bosnian club, but has already helped the country make history. In 2013 he was a leader on the Bosnia and Herzegovina team that was promoted from Division B at the U16 European Championship. It was the first time that the Bosnians had reached Division A. And last summer he averaged 11.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.4 steals to help Bosnia stay in Division A.
Gegic was actually born in Germany in 1998, where his family had fled to because of the war in the former Yugoslavia, but returned to Bosnia when he was six months old. His next task is to focus on this summer’s U18 European Championship, where Bosnia will be playing for a second summer in the Division A. He will likely be playing with some of his Spars teammates, including Edin Atic, Emir Ahmedic and Fahrudin Manjgafic.
Gegic continues to work on all facets of his game. After watching his flashy passing game, it’s not a big surprise to learn that his role model is former Euroleague champion and Euroleague Rising Star award winner Ricky Rubio. “I like his no-look passes, also his penetration and he is a really good ball-handler,” Gegic said. “One day I would like to be a player like him.”
If Gegic keeps working hard, he could one day be leading a Euroleague team on the fast break just as he has done for Spars Sarajevo.