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Wishing Spurs rookie Luka Samanic a happy birthday

The Croatian power forward turns twenty-years-old today.

NBA: Utah Summer League-San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Casual Spurs fans may not know him as he has yet to hit the hardwood, but for those of us who were glued to the television last June are aware, Luka Samanic was the first of three players to join the Spurs organization during last summer’s draft.

He was drafted nineteenth, which has also become his number. He’s the first player in Spurs history to wear #19, a choice I asked him about last summer after his first game in Salt Lake City. He did choose the number because of his age, 19, as well as his drafting spot. And his birthday, 1/9.

Samanic made an immediate impact in Summer League where he averaged over 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and one steal in just over 22 minutes throughout his play in both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Since the summer, Samanic has been lighting it up in Austin with the G-League affiliate. He’s averaging over 13 points and 7 rebounds which shows promise in the sometimes even faster-paced development league.

As R. C. Buford pointed out earlier this season when Luka was assigned to the Austin affiliate:

“Luka’s size and his skill is something you could get excited about. He’s got to get tighter with his game. He’s got to get stronger. He’s got to get more purposeful and that’s what the opportunity in Austin is built around.”

Happy birthday, Luka!

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