Gonzaga basketball fans have a lot to be excited for this coming season. The challenging schedule is great, but the most exciting part is about the amount of talent that the team has signed. One of the most exciting and newest signees to the Gonzaga roster is a little bit different than the others.
Domantas Sabonis is 18 years old, and has been playing professional ball in Europe since he was only 16 years old. He’s full of talent and experience, and he now belongs to the Zags.
Here is a little bit about the guy everyone should be watching:
It’s in his blood:
Sabonis has been around basketball for his entire life. Domantas’s father, Arvydas Sabonis, is thought by many to be the top basketball player that Lithuania ever produced.
Arvydas started playing ball when Lithuania was still part of the Soviet Union. Arvydas played professionally for the Soviet Union for many years, and even led his team to a gold medal in basketball in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. In 1986, Arvydas was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Soviet Union did not allow him to play for them until 1989.
After the Olympics, Arvydas stayed in Europe and played professional ball for Real Madrid, until 1995 when he moved to Portland to start his time in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers. He suffered many injuries in his professional basketball career, but was known to play through the pain. He ended his NBA career in 2003, and returned to Lithuania.
Arvydas was an amazing player, who played well past his prime years, but still managed to be a crucial member of the Portland Trail Blazers team. From this, it is easy to see how basketball runs in Domantas’s veins.
Professional career before college career:
Domantas was born in 1996 in Portland, Oregon while his dad was playing in the NBA. After his family returned to Europe in 2003, Domantas started showing an interest in his father’s career. With many years of hard work, Domantas was named the top under-15 basketball player in Lithuania in 2011.
A year later in 2012, Domantas started playing professional ball for Unicaja Malaga in Spain. At the age of 16, he was the youngest player on the team (and still is). His professional career in Spain showcased his many talents. He proved to be a strong rebounder, and to have an excellent shooting percentage.
In 2013, Sabonis played for Lithuania in the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 tournament in Latvia. His team took fifth place out of 16 countries, and Sabonis impressively was named the top rebounder of the tournament with 11.4 rebounds in a game. One interesting thing about Domantas is that he never accepted money or signed a contract with the team, because he wanted to play college ball in the United States.
College Career with Gonzaga:
On April 17th, 2014 Domantas signed a letter of intent with Gonzaga. His signing surprised many fans and sports analysts, but after looking more into it, many saw that Gonzaga had scored a great one. Domantas stands at 6-10, weighs 210 pounds, and turned 18 in May.
He will be joining an already fairly international college team that includes players from Canada (Keving Pangos & Dustin Triano), Brazil (Leo Roese), and Poland (Przemek Karnowski). Fans can expect to see him on the court soon.
He is just what the Zags need: a strong, consistent and fast player. Gonzaga fans should be excited to have one of the top young professional players in Europe join their already talented team. Basketball season can’t come soon enough, get ready to ZAG UP!