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Pitt’s Amsal Delalic Explains Differences Between European, American Basketball



Pitt basketball player Amsal Delalic, per his Instagram page.

The first two picks in this year’s NBA Draft were both from Europe. Last year’s first overall pick was too.

Between Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, five of the last six NBA MVPs have been awarded to European players. The European game has clearly proven to become valuable to franchises at the highest level, and has trickled down to the collegiate level as well. But why exactly? What is different about the European style of play compared to American hoops?

To find out, I asked Pitt’s newest player — Amsal Delalic. Delalic, a 20-year-old freshman, joined the team late this spring after playing professionally for four years overseas. He averaged nearly 14 points per game and shot over 40% from three-point range in his most recent season in Bosnia’s Division One. Now, the Bosnia and Herzegovina native is a Pitt Panther.

“In Europe, it’s more like every possession matters, even though it’s the same here in America,” he said. “It’s very strict there. Coaches are very strict with what they want. You have to put everything aside and you literally have to be for the team. There are some great individual players in Europe, but mostly it’s team-first.”

Delalic,a. 6-foot-7 wing, said he models his game after Kevin Durant, Toni Kukoc, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

“Every club is really ready to step up their game when it matters the most,” he continued. “While, here [in America] it’s very fast, it’s very athletic, not that much fundamental. I see some players starting to come from Europe. It’s going to be interesting the past few years because this NIL stuff has started also. I don’t know what’s going to happen if it’s going to transition. little bit, but it is way faster than it was back in Europe. In Europe, it’s more possession-by-possession, rather than here, running and out-scoring, rebounding, and doing the basic stuff.”

Pitt has five international players on this year’s team, with three coming from Europe (Spain x2, Bosnia and Herzegovina x1), and two from Africa (Senegal x2).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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