clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rebuilding Guard U

If reports are true, Villanova basketball is about to get more international, with 2012 Croatian shooting guard, Mislav Brzoja, will reportedly enrolling for this fall. 6-4, 205-pound Brzoja is rated three-stars by Rivals.com and had initially been planning to attend Northwestern. His recruitment re-opened when he was rejected by the NU admissions office over concerns over a "marginal test score" (despite carrying a 4.0 high school GPA).

He was also being recruited by Dayton, which is where he might have ended up had he not chosen Chicago's Wildcats. By the time he learned of his fate from the admissions office, however, Dayton didn't have a scholarship to offer him.

Villanova, meanwhile, had a couple of scholarships open for 2012 (two to be exact) after the early departures of Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheek and Markus Kennedy. They also had a need for a reliable 3-point shooter, which is a role that Brzoja appears to be able to fill.

He started for the Croatian under-19 squad that upset the USA team (that Nova's James Bell started for) at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Riga Latvia last summer. In the European U18 Men's Championship (also last summer), he connected on 38.6% of his threes over 9 games and averaged 13.7 points.

According to an Indianapolis Star writer:

This uncommitted senior was very impressive throughout the entire event. He is built like a frontline player, but he sees the floor and handles the ball like a point guard, and he shoots it well with range. I wish he were just a bit more explosive off the floor. But his ability to find open teammates with on-time / on-target passes if very unique for a player his size. He certainly had some top-tier coaches watching him throughout, including John Calipari of Kentucky and Buzz Williams of Marquette, (my apologies for not naming everyone in attendance – there were 20-30 DI schools specifically watching Mislav).

Brzoja has been described as a "mid-major plus" talent, meaning that he wouldn't normally be expected to star for a program like Villanova. However, with all of the Wildcats' roster turnover, a need for a reliable outside shooter as a secondary scoring option may have made him appealing to Jay Wright.

Don't expect him to start as a freshman (don't be shocked either, though), but he could be a good complementary player on a team that is working hard to develop star-power elsewhere on the floor.

(Updated 7/31) According to the Times Herald, there is a chance that Brzoja could play so well for the Croatian national team that he will be offered a professional contract back in Europe. If that happens, there remains a chance that he could opt to take the money instead of continuing his career at Villanova.

See Also: http://www.vuhoops.com/2012/06/06/wildcat-admissions-rejects-point-guard/