Don Deeble Rising Star: Dejan Vasiljevic

The bigger the moment, the better Dejan Vasiljevic performs.

The Tarneit resident has proved time and time again to be a special basketball talent and his latest achievements have the game abuzz.

Competing in the under-17 FIBA world championships in Dubai earlier this year, Vasiljevic dominated the tournament from start to finish.

As a senior member of the Australian team, he helped take his side all the way to the gold medal game against the US.

Despite being two-time defending champions, the Americans were pushed to the brink of defeat by the fired-up Australian side before holding on for a seven-point win.

Vasiljevic was in the thick of the action, dropping 29 points in the final.

“It was a great experience to play against the best players and countries around the world,” he said.

“To come second was just unbelievable. Probably the biggest moment from the team point of view was the semi-final where we were down by 24 points against Spain.

“We came back to win … it was an amazing team effort.

“Before the tournament, we were well prepared and confident with how we were going to perform.

“After the semi-final we thought we could go on and win.”

On top of a great team result, the individual accolades came thick and fast for Vasiljevic, who was named in the all-tournament team – the event’s five best players.

Previous all-tournament team representatives have included American Bradley Beal, who is now a shooting guard for NBA team the Washington Wizards.

Vasiljevic was Australia’s leading point scorer in the world championships, averaging 17.4 points a game.

“It was an honour to be named in that team,” he said. “I had a really good tournament … I got a few calls from coaches after that congratulating me.

“It was a great feeling.”

Since the world championships, Vasiljevic has been popular as US colleges chase his signature for when he finishes high school.

Currently studying at the AIS, the 17-year-old will have one more year in Canberra before needing to make a decision about his US college future.

Meanwhile, the former Bacchus Marsh College student is focusing on his next major tournament.

Vasiljevic will be part of the under-19 Australian team that will contest the world championships in Greece next year.

Don Deeble Rising Star award

For his outstanding sports achievements, Vasiljevic has been named as a monthly nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.

The award is run by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club in conjunction with Star Weekly.

Vasiljevic will receive $1000 donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club and other prizes to assist in his pursuit of his sporting goals.

The Don Deeble Rising Star award recognises young athletes in the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at a state and national level.


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