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West Coast emphasis for 2019 five-star Koprivica

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Jon Lopez/Nike @NikeEYB

One of the top bigs in the 2019 class is on the move.

Balsa Koprivica has changed zip codes, leaving South Florida and settling in the Orlando area. A 7-foot-1 center and five-star prospect, Koprivica is also the top high school prospect within the United States that will not be suiting up this month on the travel circuit. He will instead prepare for the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship.

A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Koprivica’s game has drawn comparisons to the top NBA Europeans.

"I believe Balsa is one of the most skilled players in the country, even at 7'1. His versatility, footwork, and basketball IQ remind you of a young Dirk Nowitzki,” said 1 Family program director Brad Augustine. “He's got the chance to be a transcendent talent similar to Dirk and Kristaps. We are thrilled he gets to represent his country in July.”

While he's overseas until August 21, Koprivica will be transitioning to a new school and travel program once he returns. He will enroll at Windermere Prep and suit up for the adidas sponsored 1 Family program next year.

MORE: Class of 2018 recruiting power rankings

IN HIS OWN WORDS


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A number of schools have done their best to remain in touch with Koprivica, who's competing in the Serbian training camp for the next few weeks.

“UCLA, Kansas, Baylor, Miami, Florida, USC, Louisville, Florida State, Wake Forest and Arizona,” he said, “(Those) are the schools talking to me the most often over here.”

While others may be discouraged by not playing in front of a throng of college coaches this month, Koprivica has kept things in perspective.

“I have another year of AAU basketball, so I'm not too worried about that,” he said. “Numerous coaches are going to be watching these games and maybe see me in a different style of play than in the US.

“I'm learning a different style of play, since it's more tactical. I'm adjusting to it and I think it will help me when I get to the U.S. because I will have the best of both worlds.”

Koprivica’s recruitment is only going to heat up as he enters his upperclassman years. He touched on a few of the schools standing out.

UCLA: “They have had many NBA guys and have a great history behind them.

“My main focus in college basketball is to prepare myself for the next level.”

Arizona: “They have had great bigs in the past couple years and have had success, as well.

“They just had a lottery pick with the big from Finland (Lauri Markkanen) and a Serbian big (Dusan Ristic), as well, and have the best big man in class of 2017 with DeAndre Ayton.”

USC: “They have had a great tradition with Serbian bigs in the last couple of years. I would be a good fit there.”

Louisville: “It is another big man factory with Coach (Rick) Pitino, who's established himself as one of the best coaches.

“The fan base is unbelievable because there are no NBA teams in the area.”

WHAT'S NEXT?

A college commitment is far off, as Koprivica will remain focused on helping his Serbian squad secure the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship over the next two months.

Koprivica will begin his junior high school year at Windermere Prep after returning to the United States.

RIVALS' REACTION

The has game has trended toward more open offenses, relying on practically every player on the floor to make shots. Koprivica is the ideal five-man that can shoot to 20 feet, has impeccable footwork around the basket and improved athleticism in the lane.

His school list displays a West Coast flair. UCLA, Arizona, USC and San Diego State can offer much of what he is looking for at the next level, though Louisville is another program that has worked its way squarely into the mix.

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