Aleksandar Vezenkov, the 21-year-old Bulgarian swingman, will be in action at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday when Team Bulgaria plays Portugal in the first of the FIBA World Cup European Pre-Qualifiers. The game is being played in Sines, Portugal.
Vezenkov wears No. 41. The play-by-play is in Portuguese. Live updates can be found here.
Thirteen European teams, mostly from smaller countries, will play 30 games in various European gyms. Eight of the 13 teams will progress to the World Cup Qualifiers in November. The winnowing out process ends in China with the FIBA World Cup next August. The U.S., as defending champion, doesn’t have to participate.
Here’s what Draft Express wrote about Vezenkov, who plays for European power house F.C. Barcelona...
At 6-9, 225 pounds, Vezenkov has decent size for the power forward position he mostly plays, even if he lacks athleticism in a serious way. He's not particularly quick, nor explosive, relying on his tremendous scoring instincts, basketball IQ and competitiveness to find productivity, rather than on his physical tools.
Sean Marks personally scouted Vezenkov when he traveled to Europe in March. After the draft, he referred to him as “an elite shooter.” Vezenkov is recovering from a sprained right ankle suffered in Bulgaria’s last “friendly” or exhibition game. So his mobility may be effected.