Meet the Miami Heat rookie who looks like a high schooler — and technically still is one

NEW YORK — Miami Heat rookie Nikola Jovic is already a extremely achieved 19-year-old.

Jovic was once the twenty seventh select in June’s NBA draft, made his NBA preseason debut Tuesday in opposition to the Minnesota Timberwolves and inspired in Thursday evening’s preseason matchup in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets together with his very best appearing but: 10 issues, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in 16 mins in a 109-80 Heat victory.

There is one process that continues to be on Jovic’s to-do record: Graduating high faculty.

“He’s extremely unique,” Heat trainer Erik Spoelstra mentioned after Miami’s win. “He’s so young.

“To put it in standpoint, he is still ready to do his ultimate examination to graduate from high faculty, and doing that over Zoom.”

To be precise, Jovic has one final step before graduating — a comprehensive exam to cap his senior year in Serbia. The rest of his classmates took the exam in the spring, when Jovic was going through draft workouts.

“I did not have time [to take the exam] — particularly on account of the time distinction,” Jovic said with a sheepish smile inside the Barclays Center visiting locker room.

Jovic said he had no regrets about his decision, which didn’t sit well with someone in particular: Mom.

“Yeah. At that second, I’d say [the workouts were more important],” Jovic said. “She sought after me to complete faculty. But I used to be like, ‘Mom!'”

Now, Jovic plans to not only finish high school, but to go on to college after.

“Probably quickly, you recognize,” he said, when asked when he’ll take the test. “As quickly as I’ve a little me time, I’ll do it. As quickly as I am getting involved with my academics and stuff, as a result of like I mentioned, the time distinction is actually [big].”

As his teammates learned of Spoelstra’s postgame revelation, Heat veteran Dewayne Dedmon gave Jovic a good-natured ribbing:

“You ain’t even graduated high faculty?” an incredulous Dedmon asked.

“I’m completing it at this time,” Jovic said.

“You know, you’ll’t cross from high faculty to the professionals but,” Dedmon said in response.

“You can from Europe,” Jovic said.

“Apparently,” Dedmon said, drawing some laughs.

During Thursday night’s win, Jovic flashed some of the all-around skill that led Miami to select the 6-foot-10 forward in the first round out of Mega Mozzart in the Adriatic League, and Spoelstra said he was pleased with how the rookie performed.

“His ability set is distinctive on account of his dimension,” Spoelstra said. “He’s actually simply beginning his weight-lifting program with us the final six weeks. So we would possibly not even see the good thing about that till subsequent summer season. But then his skill to take care of, to shoot, to position the ball on the ground. He’s a actually just right passer. That’s almost certainly at this level his very best ability, and he is growing all the remainder of it.

“[He’s] living in a new country, new city, new teammates, he’s playing with everybody that’s basically 10 years older or more than him, and we’re excited about the potential that he brings.”

For his phase, Jovic mentioned the thought of sharing the court docket with superstars akin to Kevin Durant, who scored 22 issues in Brooklyn’s loss, was once one thing he’s going to slowly get used to as he adjusts to lifestyles in the NBA.

“Unbelievable,” Jovic mentioned. “Last year, I was a kid who was going to high school and after high school I would go home and watch some of those guys on TV, or on YouTube.

“And now I am getting to play in opposition to them. So yeah, it is other. Unbelievable.”

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