Dario Saric is considered one of the biggest talents in European basketball. The 17-year-old Sibenik native helped KK Zagreb to the Euroleague Nike International Junior Tournament title at the 2011 Euroleague Final Four with a triple-double. He then played at the U19 World Championship in Latvia, after which he was supposed to play at the U18 European Championship but had to pull out with a back injury. heinnews’s David Hein caught up with Saric at the U18 All Star Game at the 2011 EuroBasket. They talked about his summer, his back and how much he hopes to play this season with Zagreb.
heinnews: Hi Dario, you are part of the U18 All Star Game. How do you feel?
Saric: It’s amazing. It’s a really good experience for me and the coaches of these teams. And I think this is a big, big program from young guys in Europe.
heinnews: You had the back injury and we’re able to play at the U18 European Championship. How do you feel now?
Saric: I had a big problem with my back. I had a holiday this summer but we are professional basketball players and we have to work.
heinnews: The past few months have been special for you with the NIJT Final Four in Barcelona in May and the U19 World Championship in July. Talk about how this summer has gone for you?
Saric: It was a big experience. There were older players and so many great players there.
heinnews: Now you are here at the All-Star Game. How good do you feel to be here?
Saric: I am so happy to be part of this EuroBasket and watch the semi-finals and the senior teams.
heinnews: This season you will be playing at KK Zagreb and will likely get some playing time with the main team. What are your expectations going into the season?
Saric: We play Euroleague and I hope that I can play. We have a lot of older players but I think the Adriatic League will be really important for me and the team too. The Euroleague is a surprise for Zagreb.
heinnews: Have you talked much to Coach Buric? Do you think you will be able to play?
Saric: He expects a lot of minutes from me. And I hope that I can play 15 to 20 minutes in the Adriatic League and maybe Euroleague.
heinnews: In that Euroleague group you have teams like Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow. How much are you looking forward to playing against them – really just as a young kid?
Saric: Yeah, I am still a kid. And this is a big experience. It’s an excellent experience for me and my basketball. And I feel amazing because I play against (Mike) Batiste, (Victor) Khryapa, everybody.