Possessing the body of a street bully and a feathery hook in both hands, 7-foot-1 and 275-pound center Milan Stakic has lofty expectations at The Conrad Academy (FL) this season.
Originally from Bosnia, Stakic came to Orlando with considerable aspirations. He wanted to become a key cog in the post, incorporating a package of post moves to his meager arsenal.
He also wanted to learn the intricacies of the post game in America, a task which would entail more physicality from the big fella.
"When I stumbled upon Milan I just noticed a huge kid, I mean he was about 6-foot-9 at age 14 and you just don't see that very often," explained Nikola Cicic, once the Serbian sharpshooter at Rise Academy (PA.) and now an assistant under Shaun Wiseman at The Conrad Academy.
"He's currently close to 7-foot-2. UMBC and Kent State have already taken notice and this is Milan's third week in the United States. I see him as a mid-major right now and it is up to him if he's going to get higher than that. He has all the tools right now. He needs to lose some weight right now and get stronger and get adjusted to the American speed of the game. That's his problem right now. As soon as he gets adjusted to the tempo in the next couple of months, I would think a lot of programs will be intrigued by his size and discipline.
Stakic has shown a recent propensity for both attacking the rim and finishing amongst considerably smaller, helpless defenders. Coach Brad Traina, the former professional and UCF star, has been instrumental in helping Stakic open up a dependable 15-18 footer.
The goal is to keep the monstrous teenager lighter, with his targeted playing weight around 250-260. Wiseman's system has long been predicated on a revved up attack, which would demand Stakic to play rim-to-rim.
His size in the paint will help with rim protection, as his wingspan helps block, alter, and change the trajectory of shots while simultaneously steering guards clear of the driving lanes.
One aspect pushing Stakic's evolution is TCA's roster. Stakic is bordered by beastly bigs in Auburn-commit Austin Wiley (a co-MVP of the prestigious Elite 24 game this summer) and 7-foot-1 Aristide Boya out of Cameroon, Africa.
"Practicing and working out with Austin Wiley definitely shows me how much I have to work and what it takes to be on the next level," said Stakic.
"That's because he's just a tremendous player who has shown me just how good you can be if you are dedicated and constantly focused on your game."
Cicic, who has been instrumental in taking Serbian and Bosnian talents and acclimatizing them to the American game, is constantly pushing Stakic.
Cicic ingrains footwork principles in Stakic, also imploring him to post up and bully smaller defenders in the paint. Cicic additionally helps him monitor his diet and helps propel his conditioning.
The end result could potentially be a sought after 7-footer on America's recruiting market.