Some good news for Penn State basketball fans who had become re-accustomed to bad news. The Lions have landed 6'9", 230 pound forward Sasa Borovnjak -- a Serbian by way of Veritas Christian in Fletcher, North Carolina.
The CDT's Jeff Rice has the story in this morning's edition:
When Sasa Borovnjak stepped off the plane 15 months ago, Veritas Christian Academy basketball coach John Jordan asked his new big man how his flight from Belgrade, Serbia, had gone. "Hi, I am Sasa," Borovnjak replied.
Jordan smiled and tried again, asking Borovnjak if he had eaten anything on the plane.
"Hi, I am Sasa," was the response. Borovnjak’s English, and his game, have come a long way since.
He's evolved into a rather prolific scorer, and has turned in some excellent performances against some of the nation's best high school teams, including Oak Hill Academy (currently ranked in the top five, nationally):
Memphis guard Doneal Mack and Clemson center Catalin Baciu also played for Jordan at Veritas.
“Both of those guys were great high school scorers,” Jordan said. “But I think Sasa is a more reliable scorer than those guys. He’s shooting 60 percent from the field.”
Borovnjak averaged about 14 points per game last season as the second option to the 7-foot-2 Baciu. But Jordan said that by the end of the season, Borovnjak had become the team’s go-to player. He scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Norcross’ Al-Farouq Aminu, now arguably the nation’s top freshman at Wake Forest.
“We spread the floor and just gave him the ball,” Jordan said. “Aminu couldn’t guard him.”
As the main option this season, Borovnjak has scored 33 points against Oak Hill, 27 against Mt. Zion and made 16 of 19 shots in a 41-point performance against Queens Grant this past Saturday.
Penn State hasn't exactly had a lot of success with its previous European basketball imports, but Borovnjak has performed very well against top American high school competition. Other programs were trying to nudge into the Sasa Sweepstakes late -- Georgetown, Wake Forest, and Gonzaga were kicking the tires -- but Penn State won out.