Sunday, May 28, 2017

TCA Yearbook Page 2 -Milan Stakic

It seemed very much like yesterday. That’s the caliber of uproarious, hyped up response Milan Stakic’s massive two-handed dunk triggered during a home loss against ISA-Naples.

The Big European, up until this point, had grown more and more proficient in the post while applying and refining back-to-the bucket moves.

Once rough around the edges, a thick dose of confidence and swagger now hovered over the 7-foot-1 Bosnian’s game. Since the beginning, he had worked to shed the tag of soft and out of shape.

 It took a long way to fend off this negative assessment of his game. Stakic simultaneously eliminated any risks capable of hampering his Division-I market.

And so Stakic sustained his hunger, eliminated the risks and finely tuned his body before rectifying a notable skill-set.
There was maniacal triple sessions in the weight room. Devoted to workaday cardio regimen with considerably more mileage and sprint work than anyone else in Conrad Academy, Stakic ran himself into the ground to get lighter on his feet.

There were individual workouts with Brad Traina, who ran him through a number of catch-and-stick drills molded a tactical rebounder within him. The big Bosnian developed a mental moxie and sneaky killer instinct, eager to unveil an emphatic double-fisted sledgehammer on any defender standing between him and the basket. Simply put, he caught a body at the opportune time. There was more to come.

And then... it happened.
Stakic’s monumental dunk not only left few fans seated in Conrad’s gym. It was the defining moment that altered his grit as an interior scorer. From that point on, Stakic rode the momentum wave of that one dunk.

At age 17, Stakic played in the prestigious Canaries Basketball Academy. He learned Spanish, assimilated to a new culture, and provided a significant post presence for a team containing seven players exceeding the height of 6-foot-6.

"He has had an early start on the traveling and city-to-city journey ride of a basketball career," said Nikola Cicic, who has played an integral role in pushing the development of Stakic.

"Most kids his age don't have the maturity he has or the sense of awareness you get from being on your own. Milan has had to be very self-reliant and responsible for himself, more so than a lot of other kids in his age group."

Big, soft hands and a skill-set that's rare for guys his size renders Stakic appealing at the next level. Yet it is an increase in speed and vertical ability that continues to ready him for the next level. Working diligently under Brad Traina, the former UCF sharpshooter (he is seventh all time with 156 career 3-pointers) and 12-year professional over the waters, a steady evolution remains.

 "Areas in which Milan continues to improve are his shooting ability with both hands and his feel around the basket," said Traina , who has been instrumental in both funneling talent to TCA and cultivating a skill-set in a guard-heavy lineup.

 "He's a good decision maker and a force around the basket to finish offensively. He's become both more adept and more aggressive rebounding the ball and protecting the rim. He will continue to improve his vertical leap by at least four inches before leaving our program. We envision him evolving as a threat on both sides of the ball. All of this will mold him into a huge pick up for any Division-I program, including many high-major programs."

Stakic also has a fight on his hands in practice.

Everyday, he must go against Austin Wiley, a 6-foot-10 Auburn commit and Spain Park (AL) transfer. He also has to ply his trade against a blossoming 7-footer in Ari Boya, a sophomore shot-blocking presence via Cameroon, Africa.

Tapping into the international market has helped build a roster with nine foreign players, including Florida and Louisville target Luguentz Dort (Canada), a 6-foot-3 guard. Also on the roster is Mel Esso, a 6-foot-7 wing out of France.

Stakic said he is still looking to cut weight. Understanding the breakneck speed of the SIAA has given him a better feel of what his role needs to be.