BOSTON – It didn’t take Ante Zizic long to adjust to playing in the Adriatic League earlier this season.
Well he’s proving to be a quick study in the more competitive Euroleague as well while playing for Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul which is coached by former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach and Framingham native David Blatt.
Zizic, drafted by the Boston Celtics with the No. 23 pick in last June’s NBA draft, had his best Euroleague game to date on Thursday but Darussafaka still came up short 93-92 to Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv which used to be coached by Blatt.
The 7-foot Zizic came off the bench to score 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting with nine rebounds.
He wasn’t the only player on the floor with ties to the Celtics.
Former Celtic Semih Erden starts at center for Darussafaka and against Maccaib Tel Aviv he had four points and five rebounds in 10 minutes. Also, Luke Harangody comes off the Darussafaka bench as well and on Thursday he had seven points in eight minutes of action.
For Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv, former Celtics second-round pick Colton Iverson had six points and four rebounds.
While it’s great to see what former Celtics are up to, Green Teamers are far more concerned with the going-ons of Zizic whose reputation of having a high motor continues to remain one of his strengths even against more NBA-ready talent.
In his first Euroleague game, an 81-77 loss to FC Barcelona Lassa, Zizic had four points with six rebounds along with two steals and two blocked shots in 16 minutes.
He didn’t dominate, but he showed off some of the immense potential that speaks to why the Celtics plan to have him playing in Boston next season.
In his first game, Zizic was matched up at times against former NBA forward Joey Dorsey who played four seasons for Houston (twice), Sacramento and Toronto.
Zizic, who turned 20 years old on Wednesday, used his length and non-stop motor to not be overpowered by the muscular Dorsey in addition to limiting him (Dorsey had two points, six rebounds) as a scorer or rebounder – skills that the Celtics are eager to see on display next season at the TD Garden.