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Russian star Sergey Karasev helping Brooklyn Nets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Sergey Karasev was more than just a throw-in last July when the Nets acquired Jarrett Jack. He's someone the Nets' Russian ownership wanted on Draft Night 2013 before the Cavaliers took him three places ahead of Mason Plumlee. Then, the Cavs need to dump salary in July to sign LeBron James and the Nets demanded him in the trade.

Fred Kerber spoke to Karasev, who's the team's youngest player, Thursday and he admits when Lionel Hollins called his name to start 11 games ago, he was more than a bit nervous. He hadn't started in Brooklyn and had started only one game during his rookie year --and had in fact spent most the season in the D-League.

"I was shaking a little bit before the game," Karasev told Kerber, saying he wanted to "put all my energy on the court and just do what I can do, try nothing special.

"I told myself I should just play my game, try to be aggressive on defense and smart on offense," Karasev said. "I just did those things and after first couple minutes all the pressure was gone."

And he has. The team is 7-4 since he replaced Bojan Bogdanovic and his individual numbers are respectable, particularly considering his youth and inexperience. More important, he has an excellent BBIQ and has a history of winning. He was the youngest player in the 2012 Olympics. He plays a bit of an old man's game, like his idol, Manu Ginobili, his idol.

"He’s my favorite player. When he came here, I can’t say he was a big star. But because of his work he became one of the main guys in San Antonio, one of the three who win a lot of championships. He’s just a high IQ basketball player who every time plays hard," Karasev said. "That is the way. Every day you should improve everything."

And he showed a bit of that in this week's Top 10 assists. His neat insider pass to Brook Lopez was ranked the fourth best assist of the week.

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