Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Three schools working hardest for 2019 7-footer Balsa Koprivica
By ZACH SMART
Gonzaga, Baylor, and Florida State are currently in the heaviest pursuit of 7-foot-2 Class of 2019 Monvterde Academy (FL) star Balsa Koprivica.
“Those are the three biggest schools that come to my mind,” said Eagles head coach Kevin Boyle, whose team culminated a scalding 35-0 campaign with an unprecedented fourth GEICO High School National championship.
“It will certainly be a while before he makes a decision. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to sit down and discuss some of the options with him and his family.”
Koprivica’s advanced skill set in putting the ball on the floor, scoring at all three levels, dishing and running the floor fluidly in Montverde’s breakneck attack is what makes him such a unique national prospect, as ZAGSBLOG profiled in this story from January.
Koprivica’s back-to-the-bucket game, at which he’s improved incrementally this past season, is equally noteworthy. Many have likened the Class of 2019 Koprivica’s upside to bigs of Pau Gasol and Kristaps Porzingis‘ fabric.
“Balsa is now 7-2 and getting better everyday,” Boyle said. “He’s practicing at Montverde with big man development coach Joe Katuka, a 6-foot-10 former George Washington player, 3-4 hours each day. He has the potential to help or switch on guards better than any 7-footer in the country. He’s developing a great pick and pop jumper and the ability to post up, catch, face, and hit the 10-footer like the great Jack Sikma. He has lottery potential.”
Gonzaga is an intriguing option, as the Zags now include Koprivica’s close friend and teammate, Class of 2018 Filip Petrusuv.
Also a versatile Serbian big, the 6-foot-11 Petrusuv catalyzed Montverde’s perimeter onslaught during GEICO nationals. Petrusuv’s four consecutive 3-pointers sparked Montverde’s wild 19-2 first half surge, en route to a 71-53 victory over Nevada national power Findlay Prep in the semifinals.
Montverde, which has churned out professionals such as Ben Simmons and D’Angelo Russell under Boyle, buried 11 3-pointers during its 76-58 title game victory over Vernon Carey Jr. and University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in the GEICO Nationals at Christ The King High School.
2019 FORWARD KARIM COULIBALY ADDING OFFERS
Scotland Campus Sports’ Class of 2019 forward Karim Coulibaly was leaving Walmart in Chambersburg, Pa. when he stumbled upon a text message he won’t forget anytime soon. It was Rhode Island head coach David Cox, who offered him a scholarship and also said he anticipates watching the Mali native throughout his senior year.
Coulibaly, a hybrid forward with offers from Pitt, Providence, St. John’s, St. Joe’s Rutgers, South Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and countless others, notably adapted to the multiplicity concept this past season. He’s 6-foot-9 with a smooth left-handed 3-point stroke.
He’s capable of guarding the 1-5, as he did throughout Scotland’s 21-2 campaign in 2017-18. The program was ranked as high as No.1 nationally. Now, working diligently under player development ace Sullivan Brown at Scotland Campus Sports, he’s developed a tight handle. The idea of him playing some point forward next season is becoming more realistic daily.
Legendary prep coach Chris Chaney helped create a niche for Coulibaly, where he utilized his face-up game and routinely created mismatches.
Just six years ago, Coulibaly was more focused on pursuing a soccer career.
“My older brothers and sister, they both played for the national team in basketball,” said Coulibaly, who recalls his friends constantly telling him his towering height is better suited for basketball.
“They were doing things I never could have imagined. Traveling on airplanes and playing in tournaments in different countries.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.