By Yarone Arbel
Even in such a young category as the U16's there are some players whose star quality is unmistakable.
Dario Saric of Croatia certainly belongs on that list.
Born and raised in Sibenik, the city of the legendary Drazen Petrovic, means Saric starts with a leg up but so far he's delivered.
We're talking about at least a 205cm long and athletic guard who plays every position from point guard to power forward in this championship, and brings to the court a lot of skills and talent.
His quick ball handling allows him to slash to the rim time after time and with his size he posts-up his shorter defenders.
There's still a lot of room for improvement, also his good assets require polishing in many aspects of his game and preparing his body for the senior level in order for this star quality not to disappoint in the years to come, but the potential for something special is surely there.
Keeping in mind Saric is a 1994 born, playing against guys older than him, adds another dimension to his performance.
The beginning wasn't easy though.
In his first game in the championship he took only a single shot from the field, and fouled out after 23 minutes.
In the next game he was already ready to do more.
Adjusting for the first game he has averaged 14.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 3.8 apg.
"I carried a finger injury coming to the championship, so it took me a bit to adjust and show what I can do," he told fibaeurope.com in an interview after his team qualified to the Quarter-Finals.
"I also had a talk with my coach and that helped too."
Whoever follows European basketball news closely heard of Saric even before the championship.
The Croatian prospect already signed an eight year deal with Spanish powerhouse Caja Laboral Vitoria, that is known for their eye for talent as they did with Olympic winner Luis Scola and Tiago Splitter who joined the team at a very young age.
"I don't know if I go to Vitoria right away or stay in Croatia one more year now, I still need to think about it, but right now all I am focused on is this championship," he commented.
"I'm very happy to be here. It's an exciting event. First time for me in a European Championship, and I already wish to play in more."
Before the future ones arrive Saric and Croatia need to have a strong finish here in Kaunas.
In the Quarter-Finals they'll face the Cinderella of the championship - Poland.
The Polish team has already beaten the likes of Lithuania, Turkey and Italy.
It won't be an easy game for Croatia, but Saric plans go beyond the next game.
"My goal is to win, and I want to do it in every game.
"If we manage to do it three more time we'll win the gold and that's what I want most of all."