Mario Hezonja has been drafted by the Orlando Magic as the 5th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
Who is Mario Hezonja?
Mario Hezonja is a Croatian professional basketball player born in Dubrovnik on February 25, 1995. He usually plays as a shooting guard, but manages the small forward position as well, as he stands 6’6″ and weighs 214 lb (201 cm, 97 kg).
Mario Hezonja began his basketball journey in his hometown Dubrovnik when he was 13. In 2010 he signed for Zagreb, one year later he won the Nike International Junior Tournament. In 2012 FC Barcelona Lassa paid Zagreb € 150k for Hezonja’s performances and stipulated a 3-year contract with the youngster. At first Mario Hezonja played for Barcelona B in the Spanish Second Division. This way he could improve his game. Nevertheless he was called onto the first team for two Euroleague games, in which he averaged 2.5 PPG.
During his second season he was a constant presence in the first team averaging 9.7 MPG. Although having restricted time on the floor Mario Hezonja put up some serious stats as FC Barcelona Lassa reached the Final Four in Euroleague and clinched the ACB championship.
In his third and last year in Catalunya Mario Hezonja enrolled 15.4 MPG over 54 games (32 in ACB, 22 in Euroleague). On week 19 of the ACB championship he was awarded with the MVP prize, as he shot 8-8 from downtown against La Bruixa D’Or Mandresa in a 101-53 victory. Euroleague adventure ended against Olympiakos (quarter finals), whilst he went on to the Finals of the ACB championship and lost to Real Madrid Baloncesto 3-0.
Mario Hezonja declared himself eligible for the 2015 NBA Draft on April 23, 2015.
Mario Hezonja’s shooting stats
Magic’s 2015 NBA Draft pick showed off in Europe mostly because of his shooting ability. His great stats emerged only during his second year in Barcelona. Mario Hezonja finished the season firing 45% from the field, 37% for three and 86% from the charity line, added to 1.6 RPG. His effective field goal percentage stood around 53%.
In his last season as a blaugrana he striked 57% for two and 38% from downtown averaging almost 6 PPG. His free throws percentage decreased to 77%, but he improved at assists (1.2 APG) and rebounds (2.0 RPG). On June 19, 2015 Mario Hezonja became the youngest player to score 18 points in an ACB Finals game: Magic’s 2015 NBA Draft pick made 5 out of 6 attempts beyond the three point line (83%) in game-1 loss against Real Madrid Baloncesto.