Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA hall-of-famer and Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, is being watched very closely as his current season with the Unicaja Malaga junior team draws to a close. The 6’10” forward is about a month away from turning 18. Because he is not under contract with the Spanish club, he is eligible to play college ball here in the United States, as is the rumored preference of his father.
Domantas was born in Portland on May 3rd, 1996 (between games 4 & 5 of the Trail Blazers’ first round matchup with the Utah Jazz), and would consider joining an NCAA team near the area. Located in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga seems to be most eager to attain his services, though there is no clear front runner at this time. In fact, Domantas could still elect to continue playing in Spain next year.
Last summer, Domantas visited Oregon, Gonzaga, and Arizona personally to investigate his suitors. If he continues to play in Europe, he will become NBA draft eligible in 2018, so it may be enticing for him to return to the United States (dual citizenship) and go pro after a couple years at one of these schools. As the youngest member of Unicaja Malaga by a wide margin, he is not a starter, despite his talents.
His potential can be more accurately gauged by his stints with the Lithuanian team earlier in his career. In the 2012 FIBA Under-16 European tournament, he averaged 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds. In the 2013 FIBA Under-18 European tournament, he averaged 14.0 points and 11.4 rebounds, but in one game scored 22 points while hauling in an equal 22 rebounds. Given the right opportunities, the kid is a beast.
I would personally prefer Domantas land at the University of Oregon (my alma mater), though the choice is his and no one else’s. He was originally targeting March 15th as his decision date, so an announcement would appear to be looming. Unicaja Malaga’s has two Euroleague games remaining, but their Spanish league schedule extends all the way through May 25th. Expect to hear more by this summer.
Zoran Dragic, brother of Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic, also plays for Unicaja Malaga.