Aleksandar Maric, a 6-foot-11, 255-pound center from Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., has signed a national letter of intent with Nebraska.
Life Center Head Coach Darryl Gladden said that interest picked up in Maric once word leaked out that he might be headed for Lincoln.
Gladden fielded calls from programs like Cincinnati, Georgia, Southern Cal, Albany, Old Dominion and Oregon State in the past week. But once Maric returned from an official visit to Nebraska this past weekend (Nov. 7-9), he had his mind made up.
"Nebraska had been over in Australia, and they knew about Aleks and recruited him," Gladden explained. "Even after he committed, I was still getting calls on him."
Maric (pronounced MAR-itch) arrived at Life Center last month from his home in Neutral Bay, Australia. He is expected to be an impact player this winter for the Warriors.
"He can get up and down the floor, and he has good hands," Gladden said. "His footwork is what sets him apart from other low post players -- he can adjust to passes without traveling."
Maric carries his 255 pound frame well. According to Gladden, he's down from 300 pounds, and that has aided in his effectiveness in both full court and half court situations.
"He's very skilled, but his strength is his athleticism, he has good leaping ability for his size and can run the floor well," Gladden said. "He can play with his back to the basket and can face up, too."
Maric is 19 years old, so he hasn't completely developed yet in many regards. Life Center lost a trio of front court players to the Division I ranks last spring, with 6-10 Mbainai Narmbaye signing with LaSalle, 6-7 combo forward Arnaud Dahi casting his lot with Old Dominion and 6-9 Moussa Mbaye headed to Valparaiso.
"We haven't played a game yet, but we can see that he will be a dominating force in the half court," Gladden said. "We are going to dump it to him every time we can."
Maric has gotten plenty of seasoning playing on the international hoop circuit. In July, he was a member of the Australian squad that knocked off the U.S. team at the 7th World Championships For Junior Men in Greece.
"He's a really good outlet passer," Gladden said. "I wish I could take credit for his skill level, but he was trained well by the Australian Institute of Sports."
"My job this year will be to get him acclimated to the American game," Gladden concluded.
Russ Blake is the publisher of Juco Junction