Luka Samanic, #19, was drafted by the Spurs with the nineteenth pick of the draft when he was nineteen-years-old. When I asked him about the choice of number 19 as his jersey in Salt Lake City after being drafted, he added “also, my birthday is 1-9.”
But before ever crossing the ocean, the young Croatian had a professional career. He won MVP honors and the Slam Dunk contest with Zagreb.
As a sixteen-year-old, he signed an amateur contract with FC Barcelona where he racked up another Slam Dunk Contest win, and in 2017, he was named MVP of the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship B.
Then the Spurs drafted Samanic in 2019 with the aforementioned nineteenth pick.
Samanic spent most of his rookie season with the G-League Austin Spurs playing in 33 games. Luka averaged 15.2 points per game on 43% shooting while pulling 7.8 boards and kicking 1.8 dimes.
Samanic played in only three games with San Antonio last season, two of them being the last of the season in the Orlando bubble.
This season, he’s picked up seven garbage time minutes in a pair of games, but his time may be coming as the Spurs experiment with their youth and search for length in the second unit.
Sretan rođendan, Luka. Želim vam zdravlje i sreću ove sezone.
You can tag Luka in his Twitter feed and wish him a happy birthday here.
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