Nik Slavica, a talent looking for his place in Cáceres

The modest project of the Cáceres World Heritage Site has opted for a strong outside game, looking for loose pieces in an already completed inside drum kit according to the club. Sanz repeats in the direction and the impetuous Mateo Díaz arrives on loan from Breogán to put the mordant. Star renewal with Devin Schmidt, joined by the LEB Plata scorer Jaume Lobo, the reliable Manu Rodríguez, the strength of Carlos Toledo and the versatility of Romaric Belemene, knowing that these last two can make the ‘four’. Inside, the other power forward will be the combo forward Nik Slavica (1997/205 cm), a Croatian promise that has not evolved as expected at the time, but is still full of quality and whose profile we will analyze in the next few lines. Leaving the position of ‘five’ for the ACB Julen Olaizola and for a physical mole and 4 × 4 as is the Cameroonian international Ben Mbala, whose story he told us before jumping to professionalism in 17/18, taking him through Mexico, Korea of ​​the South and, above all, France, where he has spent the last four seasons, playing last year at the highest level in Limoges in the JEEP Elite (2.6 pt, 1.7 re) to finish in the ProB in Aix-Maurienne (11.3 pt, 7.4 re). But as we said today it is time to talk about Nik Slavica.

Born in Šibenik, he was recruited by the mythical Cibona when he was very young, making his first appearances in the 14/15 and being in that summer of 2015 one of the pillars of the Croatian team that was silver in the U19 World Cup (top scorer of the final), something that catapulted him to be important on 15/16 (9.0 pt, 5.6 re). The 16/17 had a good year especially in the Croatian league (12.4 pt, 5.4 re), leaving the ABA League with 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds on average, but he was not quite comfortable and in March he decided to get out of common agreement with his agents to lead the United States towards the draft, withdrawing his candidacy after suffering a small injury in the first training session that deprived him of shining in the workouts. That summer he did the preseason with Turkish Fenerbahçe, but Cedevita showed the greatest interest and signed him for three years, although that same 17/18 he did not find space in the Adriatic league and practically only the Croatian local league would play (9.9 pt, 3.6 d).

With no room for youth development, Slavica returned to Cibona on 18/19 (ABA: 9.5 pt, 2.1 re) and finished the season in Šibenik, standing out in the eight games he played (20.9 pt, 5.8 re). He was going to play in Slovakia on 19/20, but once there he realized that he did not meet the expectations that he expected or the game and preferred to prefer enjoying the game to the money. Thus, he arrived with the season started at Škrljevo, who used him as ‘four’ and ‘three’, giving him confidence in his outside shot so that the Croatian went to great averages (5 dc, 29.4 pt, 11.0 d, 4.0 ace ) before the Covid stopped everything. Finally, last season he was going to play in Šibenik, although he would not do it by his own decision, perhaps waiting for some offer from abroad that would never sign / arrive, accumulating a year and a half of inactivity. Before signing with Cáceres, his name was related to Cibona.

The same player recounted the 19/20 season in an interview that where he felt most comfortable was on the wing, telling how he needed confidence in his outside shot and that nothing should happen if he shot and failed to avoid the fear of failure, as he did. it had happened in other teams like Cibona and Cedevita. He also spoke of his time at Cedevita, when he was “forced” to play pivot and ended up with his bones on the bench, and how he was successful at Cibona as ‘four’.

During his short stay in Škrljevo I followed him closely, coupled with his career of ups and downs. For me it is a combo forward that where it yields the most is like ‘four’. 4 × 4 prototype, physical marvel, capable of running the track (something he does perfectly), attacking the offensive rebound and cutting without the ball, he has good physical conditions and is a good killer. He does not stay there alone, because he also scores from the middle distance (with shooting range) and knows how to be decisive in the low post. In defense, he knows how to read the game, he can exchange his rivals and he is capable of reaching the aid. He has not managed to complement his 100% conversion to ‘three’, although he can play perfectly in that position exhibiting his virtues (running and playing without the ball and down). That lack of regularity throughout his career and not having managed to increase his consistency in the outside shot have haunted him, thus his selection of certain decision-making.

A player with an erratic trajectory who has not managed to give that accolade and who will live his first stage abroad to try to find the relaunch. His good physique and powerful lower body made him have a promising label from a very early age that he has not managed to set or win regularly. With time in important teams (Cedevita and Cibona) and with minutes in the elite, he has felt more comfortable in teams of medium-low profiles in Croatia in which he has had confidence, space and minutes. With a profile of combo forwards Varied like Toledo and Belemene in the squad, Slavica, in my opinion, should be oriented to the ‘four’. Roberto Blanco’s game can go like a glove. Versatile in defense, in attack he will take advantage of his mobility, his dangerousness in the transition and his power. It is clear that he comes from inactivity, that his exterior shot weighs him down and that it is his first experience abroad, but from these lines I think that he can make his name resonate again if he is comfortable and adapts, Cáceres is a good place For this, although you must be aware of where you are, that you have not yet managed to break it into professionalism and that the word work is key.