Luka Doncic is currently one of the best players in the NBA. The young star was drafted in 2018 as the third overall pick and the Slovenian playmaker has only been improving since then. Leading the Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs and hopefully beyond!
Did Luka Doncic play in the EuroLeague? Yes, before coming to the NBA, Luka Doncic was playing for Euro League side Real Madrid from 2015 to 2018. As with the Dallas Mavericks, Doncic was an integral player for the Spanish basketball team and became the youngest ever Euro League MVP.
Luka Doncic has said several times that Real Madrid has a special place in his heart. In the following article we will be talking about his period in Spain and how it shaped the future of a Slovenian player.
Among many other top clubs, Real Madrid also learned about the Ljubljana talent. Mirko Milicevic, a former Red Star and Cibona player, recommended Luka to the Spanish club. At the Spanish Mini Cup in February 2012, which was held in Barcelona, the young Doncic was still a guest of Real Madrid. In a team of guys unknown to him, he became the most productive in the final match with 20 points, although this did not bring a victory to the team.
After his confident performance, Real Madrid’s interest only intensified, as did the Slovenian’s game after returning to Ljubljana. Two months later, Doncic became Lido Di Roma MVP with 54 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the final. The then junior Olimpia coach compared Doncic to Drazen Petrovic for the first time. The incredible game of the Slovenian impressed the royal club so much that in the autumn of the same year he became a resident of Madrid.
According to his father, It was not an easy decision to leave home at 13, but he decided he wanted to play at Real Madrid. His mother went along with his son. But over time, Luka adapted, and she did not have to be with him all the time. He knew that he could return home whenever he wanted, but he didn’t even think about it, but continued to work, progressed and waited for his moment.
At the Junior World Cup held in Vitoria in 2013, a wonderful competition organized by the ACB League during the King’s Cup, reminiscent of the Euroleague Youth Final Four, Luka Doncic became Real Madrid’s MVP. In the winning final against the Barça cadets, he scored 25 points.
Doncic signed his first professional contract with the Spanish club at the age of thirteen, and already in 2015, when he was sixteen, Luka began to play for the Spanish club. He is a player who can play in two different positions.
Luka Doncic has made breakthrough in the squad of Real Madrid at a relatively young age. The Slovenian starlet was just 16 when he made his first appearance for the team in April 30, 2015. He became the third youngest player to make a debut, after Ricky Rubio and Angel Rebolo.
The 2015-2016 season for Doncic was a turning point, as he became a regular member of Real Madrid. Prior to the beginning of the season he played against the Boston Celtics colleting 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. When he debuted in the EuroLeague, he became 21st player to make a first appearance before turning 17. In total he amassed 39 matches during the 2015-2016 season in the ACB, averaging 4.5 points. As for the EuroLeague, Doncic had 3.5 points on average.
Rise to Prominence
Luka Doncic get a more significant role during the 2016-2017 season. After collecting 16 points against Brose Bamberg he became the youngest MVP of the Round. His performance and incredible play lead Real Madrid to the Final Four. In both the ACB and EuroLeague his stats increased notably, averaging 7.5 and 7.8 points respectively. In the EuroLeague Doncic became the Rising Star and also received the Best Young Player Award in the ACB.
The 2017-2018 season was sensational for the Slovenian player. Luka Doncic received the award of the Most Valuable Player of the Euroleague at a special ceremony in Belgrade, which hosted the Final Four of the tournament.
Doncic has played 32 EuroLeague games, averaging 16.1 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals.
Doncic also won the Euroleague Rising Star Award. By receiving the MVP award he became the youngest player to do so. Real Madrid also won the EuroLeague, which was due to Luka Doncic’s fantastic play.
Accolades and NBA Draft
Luka Doncic, one of the most promising European basketball players, was selected as the third pick in the first round of the Draft by the Atlanta Hawks initially. However, the Slovenian player was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, under the wing of an NBA veteran from Germany, Dirk Nowitzki. In return, Atlanta received Tray Young, one of the brightest players in the NCAA collegiate championship, who was selected with the fifth number, as well as a protected choice in the 2019 draft.
The Slovenian player is also notable for the fact that at the age of 19, has already won with his club everything that is possible in European basketball. Doncic is a champion of Spain 2014/2015, 2015/2016, winner of the “country cups” 2015/2016, 2016/2017, winner of the “intercontinental cup” (international club basketball tournament) and finally Champion of the Euroleague 2017/2018.