The Breakdown: Nick Rakocevic

Sophomore big man Nick Rakocevic of St. Joe's is being asked to do a lot for an underclassman, but he's rising to the challenge. We take a closer look at his game after seeing him in action recently.

At 6'9" tall already as just a sophomore, Nick Rakocevic of St. Joe's in Westchester, Illinois has truly stepped into the role of being the "man in the middle" for the Chargers. What was a very guard-heavy system last year is far more complete this year with Rakocevic manning the paint.

Most centers his age appear a step or two behind on the floor at that point in their career, but Rakocevic possesses a high court awareness and positions himself well on both ends of the floor.

What he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for with skill and intelligence on the floor. He has the ability to flex up to the elbows in the high post game as well as catch the ball on the block, turn over either shoulder, and finish off the glass.

His post moves are atypical in that he has several, which is uncommon for a younger big man. This allows him to take what the defense gives him and be effective when isolated on one defender.

Strength is his limiting factor right now. Growing as quickly as he has, he has some catching up to do in the weight room, but he doesn't back down when facing more physical players.

Additionally, Rakocevic knows when he has a play and when he doesn't. He recognizes his situation when he catches on the low block, and if the move isn't there for him, he kicks it back out or throws the low bounce pass along the baseline to a cutting teammate.

Right now, Rakocevic is most effective in the low to mid-range game, but in warmups he hit a few three pointers, so as that dimension of his game develops, he could become a threat to stretch the defense from time to time.


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