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Rebels youngster Vujisic comes with an old soul

  • Source:theprovince.com
  • Date:2018-03-11 11:45

Probably a small handful of the 4,000 or so at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night could tell you about George Mikan, and one of them just happened to be the Burnaby South Rebels’ towering Grade 10 centre.

“I watch a ton of old-school tape, all the way back to George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” the 6-foot-9 Sasha Vujisic said after helping the No. 8-seeded Rebels beat the No. 6 Semiahmoo Totems 80-72 for the quad-A boys basketball provincial title.

“I watch a lot of YouTube. I came across this channel called the Wilt Chamberlain Archive. I heard about the 100-point game and the 50.4 average. I just got really interested in that. I want to be an educated NBA fan. If I ever make an all-time (player) list, I want to justify whoever I put on it and the order.”

Shall we get some perspective here?

Vujisic just turned 16. He was born in 2002. Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game on March 2, 1962, on his way to averaging more than 50 points that season. And Chamberlain likely looked up to Mikan. One of the game’s first great big men, he retired in 1956.

It makes Vujisic’s affinity for Dikembe Mutombo seem like Vujisic is leaving his roots behind. Mutombo last played in 2008-09. He was known for finger-wagging after blocking shots. Vujisic adopted that for the provincials, starting with his pre-game introduction video that ran on the big screen at the LEC and then transferring it into the games.

Opposing teams saw it more than they wanted to. Much, much more. Vujisic had four blocks against Semiahmoo, six versus the Belmont Bulldogs in a 70-58 win in the semifinals and five versus the Oak Bay Bays in a 78-66 triumph in the quarter-finals.

“When it comes to rim protection, there’s Bill Russell, there’s Wilt Chamberlain and there’s Mutombo,” Vujisic explained. “Mutombo was the only one who put a little showmanship into blocking shots.

“I play a pretty basic game, so I’ll put a little flash in (with the finger-wagging) wherever I can. Just a little.”

Vujisic also had eight points and 15 rebounds against Semiahmoo and was later named to the tournament’s first all-star team. He’s one of seven players on Burnaby South’s 14-man roster eligible to return next season.

It’s fun to wonder just where his game is going.

“How good could he be before he’s done? Oh my goodness. It’s crazy,” Burnaby South coach Mike Bell said afterwards.

Rebels forward Jusuf Sehic, a Grade 12 who was named tournament most valuable player, added: “I’m gone, but this guy is going to fill my shoes easy. In Grade 11 and Grade 12, this guy is going to be a top player. This guy has a good chance of being MVP the next two years.”

Vujisic says he’s been contacted by the Serbian basketball federation and will head to Serbia next week to try out for one of their age-group national teams. He’s also interested in possibly playing for the B.C. U-17 team.

“This win will inspire me to improve my game,” Vujisic explained. “This game, in the end, I guess I played well. It did expose some of my weaknesses, like where I was getting my shots blocked.”

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  • Source:theprovince.com
  • Date:2018-03-11 11:45
Key Words:game,Vujisic,Chamberlain,He,Semiahmoo
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