SWORD MAGAZINE 143
for myself or for my teammates; I was rushing. So, this
year, if I have the ball more -- and I think I will -- I will do
Ante Zizic is somewhat of a throwback player – a downon
the-block, back-to-the-basket big man.
Like Osman, Zizic also had a productive summer –
averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in three Summer
League showings in Vegas, shooting 63 percent (19-of-30)
from the floor. And a strong but brief showing late last
season – the 21-year-old center has shown that he can pile
up all kinds of production. After being named the 2015-16 Adriatic League Top
Prospect – an honor previously given to impressive recent
imports like Nikola Jokic and Dario Saric – the native of
Split, Croatia was taken with the 23rd pick of the 2016
Draft by Boston and, by March of last season, was the only
roster player remaining from last summer’s blockbuster
trade with the Celtics.
(The Wine and Gold would eventually draft Collin Sexton
with the pick acquired in the deal.)
Cracking the rotation on a veteran-laden squad like last
year’s Cavs wasn’t easy. Zizic racked up 46 DNP-CDs early
in the campaign, but kept working with then-assistant
Vitaly Potapenko in Cleveland and was very productive in
Canton – averaging 16.3 points and 9.4 boards in 18 games
with the Charge.
When Zizic finally did get his shot – with Kevin Love and
Tristan Thompson nursing injuries – he was aggressive
and confident. The game didn’t seem too big or fast for
In 32 appearances, he shot 73 percent from the floor (49-
of-47) – netting five games in double-figures, including
a 15-point performance on 7-of-9 shooting against the
Lakers in early March and a 20-point showing on 7-of-9
shooting in the regular season finale against the Knicks.
“Over the past season, I was preparing -- working on
my body, working on my game, working on everything,
actually,” said Zizic. “So I feel much more ready for the
And while Big Z will do nearly all of his work on the block,
Osman will be asked, like his predecessor, to do a little bit
of everything this season.
One of Osman’s greatest assets is his energy level. He
comes to the scorer’s table ready to play and goes allout
on the floor. He’s won all four games he played this
summer and has been the best player on the floor in
almost all of them. He brought that energy to Training
Camp in October and it’s bled right over into the season.