Top international basketball prospect Igor Milicic has committed to Virginia, he told ESPN on Saturday.
“There are many things that are special about UVA,” Milicic said. “In terms of basketball culture, great fans, and really good academics which is also a big thing for me. Coach Bennett and his coaching staff are one of the best in the country. I feel like I will have the best conditions to become a better player and person.”
The 6-foot-9, 18-year old Milicic is considered one of the top European recruits committing to the college route. He made his debut with the Polish senior national team in the FIBA Eurobasket qualifying window in February, and played on an amateur contract this season, mostly in the German third division, averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists while making 36 3-pointers in 21 games. He also saw time in the German first division, the BBL, with Ratiopharm Ulm, where he seems minutes at both forward spots.
“This was a very difficult and important decision in my career,” Milicic said. “My dream is to play basketball at the highest levels in the U.S. or Europe. I am aware that only hard work will get me there. I am determined to accomplish that goal. Where and when, it remains to be seen.”
Milicic’s father, also named Igor, was a former Croatian national team player who is now the head coach of Stal Ostrow, who are currently competing in the Polish league playoff finals.
Milicic joins a Virginia team that won the ACC regular season championship, but was upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Ohio after being forced to withdraw from the ACC tournament and quarantine due to a positive COVID case.
The team will lose its entire starting frontcourt consisting of Jay Huff, Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy, to graduation or the NBA Draft, opening up plenty of minutes at the forward positions. Virginia previously added first-team All-AAC junior Jayden Gardner from East Carolina, one of the most productive big men in the NCAA transfer portal.
“I really think that I can fit the team well,” Milicic said. “My role will be to play and practice hard and Coach Bennett will find a role for me to help the team be successful. I’m tall for my position with a long wingspan and that should be a great fit for his defensive philosophy.
“Offensively they use many off-ball screens which fits my versatility. I feel good getting jump-shots or driving opportunities off flare screens, pin-downs or staggers. The plan is to get better each day and hopefully over time I’ll become a key piece of the program. I am going to work all summer to be 100% prepared from day one.”