This just in (Okay, about five hours ago): According to the always excellent Draft Express, at least two high-profile young European players will *not* be entering their names into the NBA’s 2010 draft pool. Tweeted one of the Expressers:
Serbian Dejan Musli & Georgian Giorgi Shermadini will not be entering their names in the 2010 NBA draft, their respective agents inform us.
Musli most recently appeared in the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, but has been playing for various Teams Serbia on the international scene for a while.
After playing in the 2008 and 2009 Nike International Junior Tournaments (the latter culminating in his 31-point performance for LMP Belgrade in their championship game win over Lietuvos Rytas; see below video), Musli impressed at last summer’s FIBA U18 European Championship Men: His play there earned his a first-team All-Tournament team and in turn was parlayed into a nomination for FIBA’s first “Champion U18 All-Star Game” later in 2009.
The big 7’1” Shermadini has been on the Panathinaikos Athens roster, playing sporadically in the oft-injured and soon-released Marcus Haislip’s spot on the floor. Shermadini has been a blip on the international basketball radar since 2007, when he made a laughingstock of Georgia’s national league, putting in peak games of 52 points, followed by a game in which he went for 60 plus 17 rebounds and seven assists.
Shermadini immediately drew comparison to Nenad Krstić and Zaza Pachulia, and participated in 2008 Reebok Eurocamp in Treviso. Later that summer, he crushed the opposition for Team Georgia at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, shooting 74% from the field to go with an average line of 21.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 3.7 blocks per game. And he capped the year by debuting with Panathinaikos – in the Greens’ Euroleague championship season, no less.
The current list of players that have announced their eligibility for the draft out of Europe includes Andrew Albicy, Antoine Diot, Bangaly Fofana, Thomas Heurtel, Edwin Jackson, Saidou N’Joya, Kevin Seraphin (France); Robin Benzing, Tibor Pleiss (Germany); Stefan Bircevic, Uros Lukovic (Serbia); Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia); Mindaugas Kuzminskas (Lithuania); Tomasz Nowakowski (Slovenia); Xavi Rabaseda (Spain); Fernando Raposo (Portugal); and Ryan Richards (Great Britain).
The sole bona fide first-rounders from The Continent are expected to be Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic.