Nikola Vucevic has proven to be a significant part of the Orlando Magic franchise, thanks to his consistent performances on the court that has seen him average a near double-double throughout his pro career. The Switzerland-born, 7-feet tall Montenegrin center was initially selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2011 NBA Draft after a three-year college career at the University of Southern California.
Who is Nikola Vucevic?
On the 24th of October 1990, in Morges, Switzerland, Nikola Vucevic was born to his parents; Borislav and Ljiljana Vucevic who raised him in Belgium before later moving to Montenegro. From a very young age, Vucevic was considered as the next big thing in basketball, thanks to his towering height and the considerable amount of talent he was showing in the game.
In 2007, the young Montenegrin was named the Best Young Player in Montenegro. With the hope that their son would one day play amongst the world’s elite basketball players in the NBA, Vucevic’s parents sent him to attend high school in the United States. He was enrolled at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, California where he played his senior year of high school basketball. Vucevic averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game that year to earn a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California.
Other Facts About The NBA Star
In his freshman year, Nikola Vucevic struggled to make an impression as he averaged just 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 23 games. In his sophomore year, however, Vucevic found his game as he started all of his school’s 30 games, averaging 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while also leading the Pac-10 conference in rebounds and blocks.
The following year, Vucevic garnered a selection to the All-Pac-10 First team after averaging a college career-high 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. At the end of the season, Vucevic announced he was forgoing his senior college year to enter the 2011 NBA Draft where he was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 16th overall pick.
Nikola Vucevic spent the first few months of his professional career playing in Montenegro due to the 2011 NBA lockout. He later returned to the team when the lockout was called off and played the remainder of the 2011-12 season where he averaged 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
At the beginning of his second professional season, Vucevic found himself to be the subject of a four-team trade that saw him end up with the Orlando Magic. That year, he averaged 13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game in 77 games. Orlando has since that time signed their center to a long-term contract which will see him remain with the team until at least the 2018-19 season.
Family – Parents
Nikola Vucevic comes from a very athletic and basketball playing family as both his father and mother played the game at a professional level. Vucevic’s father, Borislav, played professional basketball for 24 years in different teams across Europe and also for the Yugoslavia national team. Borislav was notably a part of the KK Bosna team of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina that won the 1979 European Champions Cup. His mother, Ljiljana, on the other hand, also played for the Yugoslavia national team and then for another Sarajevo-based club, Zeljeznicar.
Nikola Vucevic is married to his childhood sweetheart, Nikoleta Pavlovic. The two are reported to have first met each other in their early teens in Montenegro before Vucevic moved to the United States. Her older brother, Aleksandar “Sasa” Pavlovic, who played in the NBA for teams like the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, and Boston Celtics, acted as a mentor for Vucevic which further strengthened the bond between the couple.
Nikoleta Pavlovic was born on the 9th of December, 1989, in Bar, SR Montenegro. She is herself a standout volleyball player who attended Queens College and graduated with a graphics design degree. The couple will surely be passing down powerful sporting genes to their offsprings when they decide to start a family.
Nikola Vucevic is one of the taller players on his team with a height of 7 feet 0 inches (2.13 m). He further weighs 260 pounds (118 kg) and has a wingspan of 7 feet 4 inches (2.23 m).
Contract and Salary
In October 2014, Nikola Vucevic signed a four-year $53 million contract extension with Orlando. This took his average annual salary to about $13.2 million. The former Philadelphia 76er was previously earning about $1.9 million every year from his initial four-year $7.9 million contract which was agreed on in 2011.