After the 2014 World Cup where he helped his Serbian National team to a 2nd place finish, which is actually 1st because no one takes the monstars of team USA seriously, Bogdan Bogdanovic joined his new team Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul In Turkey. In his new starters role Bogdan helped the team to a first ever appearance in the 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four tournament and once again earned the Euroleague Rising star Trophy, making him and Nikola Mirotic the only two players to ever win it 2 years in a row. Not bad company to be in considering Mirotić's impactful rookie season with the Chicago Bulls.
Off court he's becoming a bigger name too, recently joining Nike's global "So Fast" campaign. Along with some of Serbia's best athletes of today he is part of the "Zoom Squad" whose speed is crucial for success and who know what real commitment and motivation mean. Promo words aside, this is still pretty cool.
Bogdan's stats did dwindled somewhat from the 2013/14 season and though he had some struggle with consistency and shooting, the drop can still be attributed to the changing of role on the new team. He was asked to play a more diverse game in the 14/15 season, leading the team in assists at one point and then focusing on scoring again when Fenerbahce got a new playmaker. Through all that he still lead the team in points per game and came in fourth in assists. Hard to not be excited about an all-around team player like that.
Sadly, Suns fans won't get to see the recently turned 23 year- old in his Suns uniform for at least a year, but probably longer. After rumors of the Suns front office planning to bring him over in 2016 if he had a monster year in Europe, Dave made it clear for us there is no sense in that for Bogdan, since coming in 2016 gets him a rookie scale salary and waiting another year gets him whatever the Suns and Bogdan negotiate. Keeping in mind the cap increase that's a difference in millions. So unless Bogdan is really impatient to play in the NBA we'll all be waiting a while longer. In the mean time, he is maturing and getting experience on someone else's dime, which is just fine too. Here are some highlights from his 2014/15 season to hold you over for that while.
Alternately, you can tune in and follow team Serbia in the Eurobasket2015 tournament, where Bogdan will be joining the national senior team for the third year in a row. Right now, as I write this article, Bogdan is in Slovenia getting ready for Serbia's last two preparation games, both against Slovenia. First one takes place today, August 27 at 8 PM local time (11AM Phoenix time) in Ljubljana and the other on Saturday in Banja Luka at 6PM. I'll let you know how they go.
After their surprise finish last year, Serbia has climbed to the top of basketball ranks. So far they have won 7 of 8 preparation games for Eurobasket2015 and currently hold the #1 spot in the Power Rankings. Those can't be taken too seriously (Slovenia currently sits at #5 and we're not that high Fiba PR ranking smh) but Serbia along with France and Spain is one of the favourites to get the gold this year.
Eurobasket2015 officially begins on September 5th. For those wanting to follow Bogdan here is Serbia's schedule for the first round:
And for those who don't care for Eurobasket have some more highlights:)