Croatian Invasion Reaches Decatur

The Decatur Christian prep school team features at least five future Division I basketball prospects. Two of these are recent arrivals from Croatia. In this report, we take a look at these two players and what colleges are involved with them.

The DePaul Blue Demons have received a commitment from one Croatian native, Matija Poscic, a 6-8 forward from Highland Community college. DePaul also has a Croatian born Director of Basketball Operations in Ivan Vujic. Could this be the beginning of other Croatian basketball players coming to play in the Windy City?

The Decatur Christan basketball team has two such players in Duro Bjegovic and Mario Stula. They already have two players committed to high majors in the state of Iowa in Lucca Staiger (Iowa State) and seven footer Beas Hamga (Iowa in the class of 2008). Add in 6-7 point guard Darrington Hobson, who is receiving all sorts of high major interest, and Decatur Christian has quite a team.

Mario Stula is a lefty shooter who scored 30 points in a 66-63 victory over Chicago Marshall at the Willie Little Shootout on Saturday night. DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright was in the house to witness the event. "He's just a pure shooter, 6-7 and about 210 pounds," said Decatur coach Alan Huss. "He's just one of those guys when he gets an open look, you just expect it to go in. He doesn't have a lightning-quick release, but he's got a good quick release. He's got good size, good length and he showed that he can defend an athletic wing. He really does a nice job of keeping guys out of the paint and contesting jump shooters. He runs the floor really well. He's not an explosive athlete, but he's got a good combination of craftiness and athletic ability that really allows him to finish pretty well on the break also."

DePaul is one of a number of schools evaluating Stula. "Iowa had some interest in him, but they signed another guy," said Huss. "Many schools want to see him play, to see how he guards."

Stula was good enough playing in Croatia last year to catch the eye of Northwestern coach Bill Carmody. "Stula is already a full qualifier," Huss related. "He committed to go to Northwestern last year. He's a full qualifier, he just didn't get quite good enough to get into Northwestern."

Huss feels that Stula is a guy that can fill a need for the Blue Demons. "For DePaul, they need a guy that can make shots next year. As far as being a pure shooter, they'd like him."

Until suffering a thumb injury in November, Duro Bjegovic was actually leading Decatur Christian in scoring, an impressive feat given the amount of talent on the squad. "Duro is more of a playmaker," said Huss. "He's 6-7 and 240. He's really a versatile kid to be that big and be able to handle the ball the way he does."

For now Bjegovic is listed as a junior on the Decatur Christian roster, although there is a chance that he could finish ahead of schedule academically. "He's young enough to be 2008," expressed Huss. "If he's qualified as a 2007 (recruit), he'll probably go ahead and go (to college) because he's got plenty offers. It's so hard when they come over here to figure out where they actually should be. He's certainly within IHSA limits of playing another year. He's only 18 now and doesn't turn 19 till next year. He's a pretty sharp kid."

Bjegovic has an offer from Florida International University in Miami and is receiving serious interest from Bradley, DePaul, Illinois State, and Northwestern. "He's going to be a Missouri Valley level guy at least," Huss said. has Duro ranked as the 10th best prep school prospect in the state of Illinois.

Stay tuned to for the very latest on college hoops recruiting.

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