[Here's some interesting info on Stanko Barac. Thanks for digging this up, Brent! - Cornrows]
Most Pacers fans remember or at least have tried to forget that there wasn't much buzz leading up to last years NBA draft due to the plain and simple fact that the Pacers didn't have any picks, just missing out on being involved in the draft because of a trade stipulation involved with their acquisition of Al Harrington from the Atlanta Hawks (gave up the 11th overall selection). In wheeling and dealing his way into the second round, after being selected by the Miami Heat with the 39th overall pick, Larry Bird quickly executed a trade sending the Pacers 2009 second round draft pick to the Heat for the unknown Croatian center, Stanko Barac.
After signing a multi year contract with the Spanish ACB team TAU Ceramica in August of 2007, Stanko was then loaned to Pamesa Valencia on October 25th, 2007, another lower tier ACB team. In Bird coughing up a 2009 second round pick for the young European center, some could possibly infer that Birds window for winning is now the 2010 season, that is if Bird actually thinks Stanko is going to be a contributing factor to the Pacers turnaround.
Have you been wondering what Stanko has been up too since being drafted last year? I sure have been curious, read on to get an update.
Trying to keep tabs on Stanko is pretty difficult to say the least. In checking on his teams website, TAU Ceramica (http://www.baskonia.com/), I stubbornly figured out a way to translate articles that are posted about our young, NBA hopeful center. Just yesterday, after rejoining his ACB team (similar to going from the minors to major leagues), an interview with Barac was posted about his outlook on the upcoming season, enjoy.
June 21st, 2008
When did you know that, with complete certainty, you were going to play with the Ceramic TAU the next season?
After the end of the season in Valencia, I was training in Vitoria for a few days. Then the club informed me of the news. It was what I wished, to be able to play on a team like TAU. Of course, it is a better team than Pamesa.
Do you feel ready?
This is a great challenge and a great responsibility. In the next season we will have several young players on the team and we will have to learn to communicate and play together.
And to think that a year ago you were playing in Bosnia for Siroki Prima.
I am a little older now (laughter). It has been a very intense year in which many things have changed in my life. The first season in the ACB with Pamesa was very complicated. In the beginning of the campaign I played well, but later I lost minutes as the year advanced.
What aspects of your game must do you think needs polishing?
All. I could not say to you what concrete aspects I need to work on more, but what I clearly know is that I want to try to play better with the Ceramic TAU than I did with Pamesa.
In principle, you will be the one in charge of competing with (Tiago) Splitter for playing time (and guarding him in practice). It is not bad competition to begin.
Very soon. It is always better to compete per minutes with good players like Splitter. Personally, I believe that Tiago is one of the best "cincos" (centers) in Europe.
*Tiago Splitter is a Brazillian professional basketball player (with Spanish citizenship) who was selected 28th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. Splitter was thought to be joining the Spurs this season but opted to remain in Spain for another year. Splitter, a 6'11" center, could end up moving to PF, making him and Barac the "twin towers" of the Euroleague.
Weight: 240 lbs.
Born: August 13th, 1986 (21 years old)
Hometown: Mostar, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia
Expected Date of Arrival: August 2010-2012?
It really seems like Stanko could have some promising qualities but to be honest I am still pretty lost with this pick. I am just hoping Larry Bird has some tricks up his sleeve when it comes to this one, but it seems like he tried the same thing with Erazem Lorbek, whatever happened to him? From what it seems Stanko could be locked up until 2012, if that is the case, he better be Hakeem Olajuwon by the time he shows up in a Pacers uniform because he will be 26 years old by that time. My other beef with Stanko is why haven't we heard anything about the guy, nothing on the Pacers official website, nothing from Bird, nothing at all. I just hope we don't have to keep going to foreign websites and have to translate articles to get an update on the guy. Bird picked him, its been a year, gives us some reasons why, thats all I am asking for. In Splitter staying with TAU for another year you could look at that as both a positive and a negative for Stanko. In one aspect yes, he is going to likely receive less playing, but on the other hand, he is going to be going head to head on a daily basis with the best center in the ACB, in my mind that is something Pacers fans should be excited about.
If worse comes to worse in the second round and it looks like nobody is there that the Pacers like who fits the mold of joining the roster now, don't be surprised and don't be mad if the Pacers pull another "Draft and Stash" move by selecting the Russian PG/SG prospect Alexey Shved. This guy is legitimate and has a lot of abilities that could really help the Pacers immediately, well that is in two years. I really have fallen in love with this combo guard so my thinking on this could be more of me just hoping the Pacers select Shved. At the Eurocamp in Trevisio, Italy, Shved stood out as the best prospect available in the mold of a player who wouldn't be able to play in the NBA for a few seasons, but to be honesty with you, unlike Barac, Shved gets me really, really excited, and would really brighten up the Pacers future!
NBADraft.net Player Comparison: Penny Hardaway