KD Slovan most successful alumni – part 2
Basketball Club Slovan has an outstanding and extensive record of evolving young basketball talents into pros. Many of top basketball superstars started their career there and were successfully traded to most well-known NBA and EuroLeague clubs afterward. We already presented few of them, but that’s far from being it. So let’s dig in and reveal some more shining stars, shall we?
Radoslav (Rasho) Nesterović
It’s hard to overlook Rasho Nasterović, and not just because of his 2,13 m figure, but whit his quite impressive basketball career, especially in NBA. This Slovenian star started to play basketball with Slovan’s youth team at a young age. Later on, he played in Serbia, Greece, Slovenia, and was named the MVP at the 1996 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. In 1997 he entered Italian League team Virtus (Kinder) Bologna and helped them win the EuroLeague title in 1998.
Nasterović was chosen by the NBA team Minnesota Timberwolves as 17th overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. He joined the club afterward at the end of the season 1998/99 and played for them for 4 years. Based on his extraordinary performance in 2002/3, he got the offer from San Antonio Spurs and agreed to sign a 6-year contract, although Timberwolves offered him a deal worth $12 million more. The trade was worth it, since he managed to win the NBA title in 2005 with Sprouts, irrespective his injury at that time. Next year he was traded to Toronto Raptors and played for them till 2008, joined Indiana Pacers for one year, and then returned to play with Raptors till 2010. Last year of his career Rasho returned to Europe to play for the Greek League powerhouse Olympiacos and decided to officially retire in July 2011.
Yet another basketball legend whose skills developed significantly while playing for KD Slovan, is Jaka Blažič. Jaka started there in 2009 and managed to get selected for Slovenian All-Star game based on his brilliant performance in the second year while playing for them. The good shape he gathered in Slovan’s academy was the key element for getting in Slovenian club Union Olimpija in 2011. After 2 years stay with Olimpija, he signed a 3-year deal with Serbian team Crvena Zvezda in June 2013, and became one of the favorites of their fans, because of his performance. Jaka consensually ended this contract after 2 years and inked a deal with the Spanish team Baskonia right after. Nowadays he’s playing for MoraBanc Andorra of the Liga ACB from 2017 and he also represents Slovenian national basketball team. He was 2 times Slovenian Cup winner (2012, 2013), 2 times Serbian Cup winner (2014, 2015), Serbian League champion 2015, ABA League Champion 2015 and FIBA Eurobasket champion 2017.
One from the bunch of shining Slovenian basketball stars that “hatched” in Slovan’s academy is also Gašper Vidmar. Gašper played for Slovan right from the beginning, in the youth categories, made his professional debut with Jance STZ in 2003/4 and return to play for Slovan in 2005. After 2 years he signed a multi-year deal with the Turkish club Fenerbahçe for whom he played till 2014. He was loaned twice in the meantime, to Union Olimpija in 2009/10 season and Beşiktaş in 2012/13. He was Slovenian Supercup winner (2009), Slovenian All-Star Game MVP (2009), Slovenian Cup winner (2010), Slovenian Cup MVP (2010) and Turkish League champion 4 times (2008, 2010, 2011, 2014). Ending with Fenerbahçe he signed a 1-year deal with another Turkish club Darüşşafaka and joined the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2015 NBA Summer League. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the table, so he returned to Turkey, inked with Banvit, remained to play for them till today and managed to become FIBA Eurobasket champion in 2017.
Jan Vesely is a Czech professional basketball player, who played for Slovan in his early beginnings, in season 2007. He grew out to be an amazing player, who achieved many outstanding results in the EuroLeague and NBA. After Slovan’s successful season he signed a multi-year deal with Serbian club Partizan and achieved FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year Award in 2010. It was no surprise that NBA guards put the eye on him, and so he managed to be selected sixth overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards. Jan played for Wizards for 3 years and was later traded to Denver Nuggets in February 2014, with whom he played 21 games.
In August 2014 Vesely signed a 2-year contract with Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball Super League and the EuroLeague and re-signed the deal for 3 years in 2016 with NBA opt-out clauses every summer. He was All-Euroleague first team 2016, Turkish Cup winner 2016, 2 times Turkish League champion (2016, 2017) and Euroleague champion in 2017.
Want to be a part of Slovan’s successful story? Join their campaign on the SportyCo platform now and share their glory later. There just might be the next basketball superstar waiting to conquer the world.