Summer 76 | International Trio Competing in FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

A little more than a month removed from the 76ers’ memorable run to the second-round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, one of the team’s mainstays was back on a basketball court, playing in a game of consequence.

Dario Saric, a fixture of the Croatian national program for the last half decade, scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds Thursday in his country’s 78-72 victory over Italy in a first-round match-up of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers.

In his second season with the Sixers, the 24-year old forward assumed a full-time starting role, and averaged 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, while hitting 157 3-pointers. He canned a pair of triples versus the Italians.

Also in action Thursday was up-and-coming prospect Furkan Korkmaz, whom the Sixers chose 26th overall in the 2016 draft. In Turkey’s convincing 80-66 win against Ukraine, the shooting guard erupted for a game-high 21 points off the bench, sunk 4 of 5 3-point attempts, and generated a whopping plus-27 rating.

Prior to sustaining an injury in the winter, Korkmaz had appeared in a handful of games with the Sixers, and the franchise’s G League affiliate in Delaware. He was cleared to return in March, and played in eight games after that.

Translation: Always for the better!”

One final note from Thursday’s FIBA World Cup Qualifiers slate - Anzejs Pasecniks, whom the Sixers acquired in the first round of the 2017 draft, came off the bench for Latvia, which beat Sweden, 82-72. The big man logged nine minutes, and grabbed a rebound.

Last year, Pasecniks played for Gran Canaria of the Spanish ACB.  

On Sunday, Saric, Korkmaz, and Pasecniks will all be back on the floor. Croatia takes on Romania, Turkey faces Sweden, and Latvia battles Ukraine.

And, we’d be remiss to not mention that over in the FIBA African Qualifiers, Sixers assistant John Bryant is serving on the bench for Angola.

The top 12 finishers from the European qualifying bracket will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, set for China. The best five African teams will go as well.