Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New Knight: Aleksandar Malinic F 6-8 205 fr.

Before we talk about intriguing new Knight Aleksandar Malinic, I wanted to alert you this may be one of my final in-summer posts -- not just for this year but going forward as well. The PSAC has finally wised up and made its National Letters of Intent web page password protected. I'm sure the move was greeted with open arms by the league coaches and sports information directors.That info shouldn't have been floating around the public domain anyway, because NLIs are signed before the student-athlete is accepted (or rejected) by the school.

But word on Malinic leaked out before the password wall was built, so here we go. I struggled to find statistics on Malinic, so this profile of him will seem less than complete. (No photos either.) I think the lack of info is a combination of (1) Malinic living in Serbia until moving to the U.S. as a high school senior and (2) him playing high school ball in West Liberty, Ky., population 3,435. The only media outlet serving downtown West Liberty and the surrounding area is -- and don't snicker -- the Licking Valley Courier, which is such an old school newspaper they don't have their own website. Or at least one I couldn't find. They only have a Facebook page which is updated occasionally with classic small town local news items like this, this, and this.

So here's what I found on Malinic:
* He's the fourth non-American in what's expected to be John Reilly's 2013 recruiting class, joining Girbran Smith (Bahamas), Raphell Thomas-Edwards (United Kingdom), Marcus Jones (Brantford, Ont.), and Nolan Woodward (Montreal).
* Malinic averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds per game at Morgan County High School in West Liberty, according to a web site known only as "Recruiting Central." I couldn't find any game articles where he scored near 20 points, so maybe that figure isn't accurate.
* For four full minutes of highlights from his senior season, check out this YouTube video. He's a 6-foot-8 lefty who appears to have a combination of attributes rarely seen in bigs -- he's doesn't shy away from contact inside and he can step outside the paint and knock down perimeter shots. He looks to be skilled as both a passer and ballhandler, especially on the move. He's aggressive, but not a high flyer. He can certainly abuse smaller players in the post but will need to learn how to get shots and rebounds vs. physical PSAC post men. When you watch the clips, it's evident he's got passion for the game, which I'm sure Coach Reilly adores.

* I'm sure that video is of the soon-to-be-freshman Malinic, but I'm not certain these clips are. Same name and left-handed, so I'm leaning towards "yes." But the video quality isn't very high or shot close to the action, so it's hard for me to tell. Even if this isn't video of a future Golden Knight, you have to love the box of a gym in the opening part of the first game, with benches in opposing corners and fans pinned against the wall like they're prepping for a mug shot. Furthermore, I'm not even sure these are "highlights." It just appears to be a 15-minute compilation of every play Malinic was involved in during his club games. You have to at least watch the coach's reaction to his team's poor defense at the 1:58 mark. At least I think it's the coach. Heck, it could be a fan who couldn't find a seat and was just really into the game.
* Want more video? You can watch the entire broadcast Morgan County vs. Raceland-Worthington here.
Listen to announcer for 10 seconds and you know for certain the game's being played in Kentucky.
* According to this newspaper account, Malinic knows how to play through adversity. Despite flu-like symptoms, he registered 11 points and 14 rebounds in a three-point win. Both coaches' quotes praise Malinic.
* Scored 16 points in this win, despite being a focus of the opposing defense.
* Morgan County ended the season with a 22-8 mark, winning their district before falling in the regional semis. In the finale, Malinic totaled 10 points and 13 rebounds.
* For his efforts as a senior, Malinic was named honorable mention all-Mountain.

I would expect in the next couple weeks Gannon will officially announce its recruiting class. Last year the press release was issued Aug. 23. If none of the seven players I've profiled during the off season are included on the official list, I'll be so frustrated I might become a Mercyhur ... no, I won't do that. I'll just toss my laptop onto the floor. Opening night is just three months and six days away!


  1. I didn't watch the entire 15 minute play-by-play of every play the kid has ever been involved with... but between watching the two videos, I'd have to say I'm leaning towards "yes" it's him. Same "moves", same mannerisms, the "ugly" right hand shove shot (just more non-traditional.. he almost like pushes the ball rather than shoots it). The only real difference I noticed between the two is that in the HS video he does a lot of dribbling and coast-to-coast baskets. In the club video, he doesn't do a lot of it. Maybe different coaching styles or he plays different roles on the teams, but that's only real difference (besides the obvious difference that he's #25 in HS and #14 in club). But if you watch his court vision and passing, identical. And, to be honest, very impressive. It appears Coach Reilly may be going for the speed with this class. With some of the kids he's brought in + Jabs, Blazek, Rob, etc. that is A LOT of speed and athleticism. Can't wait for the season to start!!!! (yes, even if it means there will be snow... i mean, c'mon, it's 59 out right now!)

  2. His Twitter page says he will be in Erie on August 18.

  3. Thanks for the explanation on the website now being blocked, Jim. I went there the other day for the first time ever and couldn't get in. I figured it was something I was doing wrong. Now I see that it was some other reason.

    Don't know if anyone checked out the video of Coach Brunelli's latest recruit, but in the tape I saw, she reminded me of a slightly shorter Brittany Tabron, only she can handle the ball better and has a better outside shot. Between Saunders and this girl, sounds like Coach B is loading up but good in the paint. One other thing: I thought the other incoming freshman was from Michigan somewhere, but there isn't anyone listed on the roster as being from Michigan, and I didn't see any new names. Anyone know what the story is on that?

    1. Brianna Brennan from Mich & MeKayla DEGUIRE from NY both will probably RS this year, my opinion. I saw both here in Erie last week.
      Also look for Sarah Grab, Corry high school girls coach to move in as 2nd Ass't for the ladies.

  4. The question about Brianna was put to coach Brunelli and he said she is here. He does not put a player onto the roster until they have a picture and a Bio to post with it.

  5. Just want to add Aleksandar Malinic isn't from Bosnia,he is from Serbia,Belgrade...

    1. Correction made. Thanks for that info. Hopefully he will do better in geography at Gannon than I did. :)