Aleksandar Vezenkov, the 6’9” sharpshooter the Nets took with the 57th pick in June’s draft, scored 21 points, grabbed eight boards and handed out three assists Saturday as his Bulgarian team clinched a spot in the FIBA World Cup qualifying around this November.
Bulgaria beat Portugal, 91-65, in Botevgrad, Bulgaria, giving it a 3-0 record in what FIBA calls its European pre-qualifying tournament. Teams from 13 small European countries are vying to move on to the next round of competition for the FIBA World Cup competition next year. Although the pre-qualifying tournament continues for another week, Bulgaria’s 3-0 record clinches a berth for them.
Vezenkov went 7-of-13 overall, 3-of-6 from deep and grabbed eight defensive rebounds in 29 minutes of what turned into a blowout.
The 22-year-old plays professionally for F.C. Barcelona where he’s a power forward. Sean Marks personally scouted Vezenkov in March.
Ryan Boatright, who was cut by the Nets two years ago, is playing for Armenia. Now a dual citizen of the US and Armenia, Boatright scored 30 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out eight assists in a loss to Bosnia.