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NBA Draft Prospect Joins Ilic on FMP Frontline

Predrag ["Peja"] Samardziski, a 7'-1" NBA draft prospect, has joined FMP Zeleznik, Mile Ilic's team. It is not known how the addition of Samardziski will effect Ilic's playing time with the Serbian team, but it may mean he will get some time at power forward. Milan Lazarevic of 24sec.net, the Serbian basketball site, tells NetsDaily it is bound to have some effect since Samardziski is a "classic center".

Samardziski signed a four-year contract on November 23 after leaving KK Partizan. Samardziski and Partizan split up after Samardziski complained about a lack of minutes. His place had been taken by another NBA draft prospect, Nikola Pekovic, who like Samardziski, is only 19.

Samardziski and Ilic will not be playing together for a while, however, due to Goodyear Adriatic League rules. He may play in the ULEB Cup games. FMP plays in both leagues, with the Adriatic league confined to teams in the former Yugoslavia and ULEB being a broad international competition encompassing teams from Portugal to Siberia.

"Predrag Samardziski is classic center," Lazarevic writes. "It is hard for me to imagine that he can play on power forward position... but who knows. I doubt that this transfer means that Ilic will go to bench, better to say that [FMP's other seven-footer] Velimir Radinovic will go to bench.

"Samardziski and Ilic can be deadly duo, so coach will combine both of them on the court, but we will [may] see today when FMP plays against Partizan. Ilic didnt open season as people expected, but in last few games he was one of the best, and FMP immediatelly made several sensational results. But, this guy[Ilic] gets abnormal credit in FMP and he will play inspite of all."

FMP paid Partizan a significant buyout for Samardziski's services, according to Serb sports sources. Samardziski played with Nenad Krstic at Partizan two years ago. He is viewed as more of an NBA power forward because of his excellent outside shooting and size. He pulled out of the draft last June after his stock dropped in part because of injuries and in part because of his limited playing time in Partizan. At one point, he was viewed as NBA lottery material, but he must now rebuild his reputation.

A citizen of Macedonia, he hopes to become the first of his countrymen to play in the NBA.