|Last summer was quite hectic for Dario Saric who played for the Croatia U18 team immediately after winning the gold medal and being named MVP in the U16 European Championship|
There is nothing in sports quite like watching a youngster blossom.
Croatia's Dario Saric is certainly revealing himself to be one of the next great players in his country.
Last summer, at the U18 European Championship in Vilnius, Saric averaged 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest to help his national team claim a fifth-place finish.
In Barcelona and on the weekend of the Euroleague Final Four, Saric led KK Zagreb to the Nike International Junior Tournament title.
He had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 76-65 triumph over Zalgiris Kaunas in the final and was named the MVP of the event.
The U18 European Championship Men is just around the corner (21-31 July in Wroclaw, Poland) and Saric, 17, is definitely one of the players to watch.
He gave this interview to Basketball World News.
Dario, you had the opportunity to play with KK Zagreb's senior team some this season. How different is the game at that level in terms of speed, strength and tactics?
Dario Saric: "It is a big difference. In senior competition there is hardness and quickness, more than in junior competition. Tactics are more complicated and you always have several solutions. Players have more experience and they find better solutions."
What was the experience like for you in Barcelona playing with KK Zagreb in the Nike International Junior Tournament, and also being named MVP?
DS: "It was perfect to play games in Barcelona in one good shape and rhythm. The most impressive moment was when the buzzer sounded to end the final game. That feeling was unbelievable. Also, I would like to say that without my teammates, it wouldn't be possible to make that great result (MVP)."
During the summers, you wear a Croatia shirt. Do you look forward to the youth tournaments? Additionally, what do you expect from this summer?
DS: "I always try to do my best and I'm very proud to play for my county. I hope that I'll play in the U18 European and U19 World Championships and we'll try to achieve the best result we can. Any medal will be good."
Croatia have given the world so many great players over the years. Which ones do you look up to most and why?
DS: "I wouldn't like to make any comments about the players but I like players like (senior national team players) Ante Tomić and Bojan Bogdanović. Croatia always has the potential for the best results and we have to know how to use this potential."
What are your career aims in basketball, and what is the best advice that you have received as a young player?
DS: "At the moment, I just play basketball and I always do my best . I hope that way of life enables me to play in one big European club once and for sure, I would like to play in the NBA but it is far too early to talk about that."