A star on the rise: Fedor Zugic

In Athlenda Stories
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Fedor Zugic, the talented youngster of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, recently made the headlines as he became the youngest player ever to play in a Euroleague contest.

Fedor Zugic, Man of the Moment

It was February 22 when the shorthanded Buducnost traveled to Lithuania to play against Zalgiris. Zugic rounded out the active roster due to injuries.  In the waning moments of the game, coach Jasmin Repesa gave the signal to Fedor to enter the game. It was a debut for the history books as Fedor was only 15 years and 157 days old when he entered the contest, topping the list of youngest players to ever play in the Euroleague, surpassing names such as Ricky Rubio and Manuchar Markoishvili, who went on to have great careers after debuting at a very young age.

But let’s dig a bit deeper and see who is this teenager who suddenly burst into the Euroleague scene.

Who is Fedor Zugic

Though a surprise for most casual fans, Fedor is an essential name for the future of European basketball. His honor was not a gift from the coach, but something he earned through hard work and improvement.

The Guard from Montenegro, born in the small coastal town of Kotor, first made noise this summer during the 2018 FIBA U16 European championship. Even though Montenegro didn’t advance, Zugic he was impressive scoring 18,9 points per game for his national team and ranking 2nd in scoring in the tournament in points per game, showing the skills that make him a coveted asset for the future.

He started the season with Buducnost Junior Team (U19) despite being only 15 and had no problem scoring for them, averaging close to 17 points per contest. Deemed ready by his coaches, he was sent to Studentski Centar Podgorica, to get professional experience in the Montenegrin First Division where he averages close to 16 minutes and 6 points per game.

In short, he is one of the top-rated prospects in Europe at the moment, and for a good reason.

Fedor Zugic: Athlenda (Video) Analysis 2019

The first thing you notice about Fedor is his drives to the basket. He is an explosive scorer that loves to take defenders off the dribble and get to the basket, where he does most of his damage. Once he gets there, he is an explosive leaper with impressive body control in the air for his age.

This athleticism and ability to finish possessions close to the basket also make him a great threat in transition, as he likes to run in the open floor for quick baskets.

As he matures he will certainly start to read the defenses better and create more for his teammates, a crucial development as he already is great at breaking defenses down. This could really elevate his game at the professional level as an all-around offensive threat. The fact that he moves well off the ball is an encouraging sign as it shows that he understands spacing and passing lanes.

Another key area for his improvement is the outside shot. His three-point percentage hovers around 25% in all competitions. However, he is at an age where it’s not wise to take his percentages at face value but focus on his technique instead. He is a fluid shooter and there is no reason he won’t start hitting the three-ball regularly.

On the defensive end, he is very eager to use his physical tools to get steals or block opponents and while this can result in highlight plays, sometimes he lacks the discipline to stick to the team’s scheme. He has to improve his anticipation off the ball and on weak side plays, without compromising his drive to make high-value defensive plays.

All in all, Fedor’s positive traits far outweigh his weaknesses and he is at an age where he has all the time in the world to round-out his game. It’s already impressive that he can be a contributor at the professional stage at 15, so keep the name in your notebook for the years to come.

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