Dieng among international guys who have raised their stock in Spain

VIDEO: Kia Rookie: Gorgui Dieng

MADRID — The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup is primarily about 288 guys playing with pride for their country, great games and the drama that comes with them. But it’s also a level of competition and exposure that allows players with little or no NBA experience to raise or lower their profile.

Tuesday, the U.S. team faces Slovenia (3 p.m. ET, ESPN), which boasts Suns guard and NBA vet Goran Dragic, who has had little trouble replicating his domestic success in international play.  

But what about the other squads? Here are the three young international players who really raised their stock in the last 10 days, along with five more who helped themselves out…

Bojan Bogdanovic – 25 years old – Croatia

21.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 50.0 FG%, 13-for-36 3pt
The older, bigger Bogdanovic was the 31st pick of the 2011 Draft and was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets that night. They waited three years to bring him over, but their patience could pay off, because the 6-foot-7 small forward has improved quite a bit in that time.

There will be an adjustment to the speed, athleticism, and schedule of the NBA, but this guy can score, as evidenced by the 27 points he put up against France on Saturday, being guarded by NBA (or former NBA) guys Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier and Mickael Gelabale. Bogdanovic won’t exactly fill the void left by Paul Pierce, but he should play right away.

Gorgui Dieng – 24 years old – Senegal

16.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 42.0 FG%
With the No. 1 picks in each of the last two drafts, the Timberwolves are looking toward the future. And you have to include the No. 21 pick from 2013 as part of the team’s young and promising core. Dieng’s skill set goes beyond scoring and rebounding; he’s a very smart and willing passer out of the high post.

He averaged 12.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 15 starts as a rookie last season, and just led Senegal to a surprise trip to the round of 16. Facing Spain (and their NBA frontline) on Saturday, Dieng had his worst game of the tournament, shooting 1-for-9. But his play in Group B made it clear that Flip Saunders will have to find him more playing time this season.

Joffrey Lauvergne – 22 years old – France

10.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 53.5 FG%, 3-for-8 3pt
The 6-foot-10 Lauvergne is playing out of position with France, starting at center in the absence of Alexis Ajinca (and ahead of Rudy Gobert). But he’s a solid defender, a willing screener, and has used his quickness to combat the size of opposing centers, playing his best game against Serbia’s Miroslav Raduljica. This is the biggest role he’s had on the national team (which has four NBA players this year), and he leads it in scoring and rebounding.

After breaking out with Partizan in the 2012-13 season, Lauvergne was drafted with the No. 55 pick in 2013 and acquired by the Nuggets. They offered him a small deal this summer, but he chose instead to sign with Khimki in Russia. That deal has an out clause next year.

In group play, Lauvergne had some issues with the size of the Gasol brothers, who he’ll face again in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Five more

Aron Baynes – 27 years old – Australia
Baynes isn’t all that young, but he looked like a guy who deserves a bigger role in the NBA than he’s likely to get in San Antonio, where he was the fifth or sixth big on the depth chart last season. It would make sense for another team to grab him and move him up a spot or two, especially since the Spurs already have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster and another guy with a partial guarantee. But Baynes is a restricted free agent.

Matthew Dellavedova – 24 years old – Australia
Dellavedova’s numbers weren’t consistent, but he played a big role on a good team. He’s more of a steady, run-the-offense kind of point guard than a scorer, though he did hit a huge shot over Omer Asik in the closing moments of Australia’s loss to Turkey on Sunday. The Cavs were a pretty good team (plus-3.8 points per 100 possessions) with Dellavedova on the floor last season, and he should continue to have a role on what is now a title contender.

Raul Neto – 22 years old – Brazil
Playing behind Marcelo Huertas, Neto’s role can be limited most nights. But with Huertas not playing his best and Brazil struggling with rival Argentina on Sunday, Neto helped turn the game around with 21 points on an incredible 9-for-10 shooting, scoring multiple times in late-shot-clock, one-on-one situations. Neto, a 2013 second-round pick whose rights are held by the Jazz, has skills, but is only 6-1, which makes it difficult to project him as a clear rotation player in the league.

Emir Preldzic – 27 years old – Turkey
Speaking of making big shots, Preldzic hit the two biggest shots of the tournament, turning a five-point deficit into a one-point victory on Sunday, and putting Turkey in the quarterfinals against Lithuania. The 6-9 forward with skills was drafted five years ago, but is still at an age where NBA teams should keep an eye on him. The Mavs got his rights from Washington in the DeJaun Blair sign-and-trade in July.

Dario Saric – 20 years old – Croatia
Most people were already high on Saric, who the Sixers took with the No. 12 pick in June, even though they knew they couldn’t have him for at least two years. But the World Cup has been a showcase for his size and skills, which will make you wish he was coming to the league sooner.


  1. Viva España! says:

    Ningún Americano en la lista?

  2. Viva España! says:

    Hey where is that guy’s name? Dray Blatche? He’s good. I love the way he played on that small Philippine Team.

  3. FIlipino Idiot says:

    All who asked for Blatche are named after my username.

    As basketball followers, you should know the meaning of “international player”. Although a misnomer, but all should get the thought. Unless of course you are an idiot.

  4. Biwan Nagaer says:

    when an NBA journalist says “international player,” it usually means not a native of america. so blatche van’t be considered an international player.

  5. marvin says:


  6. KJ says:

    this list doesn’t make sense at all… andray blatche and gustavo ayon, both already played in the nba, deserved to be on the list and be recognized…

  7. pokie says:

    I think Blatche is not on his list because Blatche is already considered a well established NBA talent.

  8. Ben says:

    What about Joe Ingles!?! He looks like a young Tayshuan Prince

  9. GilasForLife says:

    Seriously? Where is BLATCHE? for your information, our Philippines national team beat Dieng’s SENEGAL. I think its unfair to Blatche beacause his name should be mentioned here. tsk tsk tsk. DUHHHH!

  10. Aaron James Estolas says:


  11. I wonder what will happen Gustavo Ayon, the end is going to be in the NBA or you can sign for a European team, said he wants to sign for Real Madrid, I can tell someone like this the situation of the player ?, I loved the role it has played in the World Cup in Spain, thank you very much

  12. GodSaveTheKing says:

    Blatche the MIP of the World Cup!

  13. Aircanada says:

    Preldzic is highly overrated.

  14. Hecky says:

    How about Blatche? He was a big factor for the small Philippine Team. Yes they only won one game but all of their games are very closely contended and Blatche was a dominant center for the Philippine team.

  15. Dwillreal says:


  16. UrBoyNirms says:

    What about Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania, the big man that plays for the Raptors had a monster game recently putting down stats of 22pts, 13rbs, 3blk. on Efficient shooting at FG 8/11 FT 6/6.

  17. just another EU guy says:

    What about the younger of Dragic brothers?

  18. mau_ako says:

    hey john !! how about Blatch???

  19. claudio says:

    you forgot YANICK MOREIRA he only NCAA from SMU Mustangs player who has scored 38 points and 15 rebounds 8 of them ofensive and 7 defenssive aganst australia

  20. wats up says:

    how about blatche?
    based on fiba statistics
    1st in rebounding avg 13.8
    1st in efficiency
    1st in double2
    2nd in points per game

  21. Denese says:

    yeah right what about blatch?

  22. nomorethabeet says:

    Who is Dieng?

    • asdf says:

      seriously you dont know who he is? he won a national championship with louiville in 2013. and made some noice at the end of last season.

  23. Ethan from Texas says:

    How about Gustavo Ayon?

  24. NBAis1sided says:

    how about blatche????

  25. European says:

    Preldzic.. Two sick shots in 1/8 finals.
    Radulijca.. Very consistent so far, surprises me he couldn’t get on the floor in NBA…

    • another EU guy says:

      Raduljica doesn’t have a strength advantage in the NBA as he does in FIBA play. Other than that he has bad hands, no jump and no post game. Preldzic is a rock star in europe with a nice overall skillset but i can’t see him defending very well in the NBA.