Aleksandar Vezenkov is a young standout in Europe. (FIBA Europe/Martins Silis)
May 17, 2013
CINCINNATI --- Xavier University head coach Chris Mack announced today that he has received a signed National Letter of Intent from 6-8 and 210-pound forward Aleksandar Vezenkov, who is considered one of the best players in his age group in Europe. Vezenkov played for the Bulgarian junior national teams and as an amateur member of the Greek pro team Aris in the Greek Basket League.
"We are very excited to welcome Alex into our program," said Mack. "Alex is a highly skilled forward that can shoot, pass and think the game at a very high level. His summer calendar will be filled with international play but we fully expect Alex to join our program this fall as a member of Xavier's freshmen class. He is very eager to become a part of the Xavier community this fall and brings a wealth of basketball experience to our team.
"Alex and his family felt that an education here in the United States, coupled with the opportunity to advance his career at a Big East program was the perfect choice. Alex is a very intelligent young man who has attended an American International School the last three years. His family has been very diligent to protect Alex's amateur status throughout Alex's secondary years in school. Alex's father is a GM/Head Coach for a professional basketball team based in Bulgaria and has extensive experience with FIBA and Alex's sister was a scholarship basketball player at UNCW a few years ago."
Vezenkov was chosen as one of the best 10 young Bulgarian athletes for 2012 , according to the viasport.bg site rankings and the lone basketball standout on the list. Vezenkov received an invitation to play for the Bulgarian U20 National Team at Eurobasket Division B in Sofia, Blugaria, in the Summer of 2012 and he took advantage of the opportunity. In seven games, Vezenkov averaged 20.4 minutes, 5.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. At the Division "A" European Championship in Latvia and Lithuania, he came up big in his team's nine games, averaging 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He shot 96.8 percent from the free throw line.
"Aleksandar Vezenkov is one of the top European talents born in 1995 and undeniably the best European NCAA recruit in class 2013," said Rafal Juc, International Scout for the basketball prospects web site Eurohopes.com. "Standing at 6-8 he impresses with his versatile offensive skill-set, taking an advantage of his length, mobility and great ball-handling for his size. Vezenkov is a modern face-up combo-forward and a nightmare match-up on the offensive end. He displays an ability to stretch the floor as a power forward and make a good use of his solid handle as a small forward. Given his international experience at the highest European level, basketball IQ and work ethic, this 18-year-old should translate his game easily to the NCAA standards and make a major impact in Xavier right off the bat. Despite being well-known for his scoring instinct, Vezenkov has a high upside to become an elite defender as well. With his size, length, quick feet and strength, he should be able to defend both wing positions."
Vezenkov has been a member of multiple Bulgarian junior national teams. He played with Bulgaria's junior national teams at the 2010 and 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championships, the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, and the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. He led the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship in scoring with an average of 27.1 points per game.
The 17-year-old Vezenkov, who was born in Lefkosia, Cyprus, holds Greek citizenship in addition to his Cypriot-Bulgarian dual citizenship.