WNBA Seattle Storm: Meet Ivana Dojkić, the Croatian sensation

Croatian basketball star Ivana Dojkić is headed stateside. At simply 25 years of ages, Dojkić is currently amongst the most skilled of EuroLeague specialists, and now she is on her method to the WNBA after signing an agreement with the Seattle Storm.

On the court, Dojkić integrates an industrialized three-level scoring capability and an all-world death capability into a deadly “pass first, score if needed” gamer profile. Add in omniscient court vision and slick manages, and Dojkić on paper is the model for a future star in the WNBA.

Currently betting Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna in Italy, Dojkić’s expert basketball profession has actually covered throughout 9 years and 5 nations. Born in the seaside paradise of Poreč, Croatia, she fell for basketball after her very first practice as an eight-year-old.

At 12, she loaded her things and left Poreč for the very first drop in her continuous basketball journey. First she relocated to Zagreb when her older bro Marko got phoned by KK Cedevita. “They took him as a young prospect, and I [nonchalantly] said ‘Okay, I’ll go too,’” she stated. Leaving behind her home town, along with her daddy who chose to remain back in Poreč, was just the initial step in a long profession of sacrifices and farewells that Dojkić would sustain en path to global success.

The silver lining? Initially simply along for the flight in Zagreb, Dojkić started playing basketball more competitively herself, and by her early teenage years, she was currently betting Novi Zagreb’s senior group.

At 16, Dojkić signed with Ženski Košarkarski Klub Celje in Celje, Slovenia. Though Celje is simply a couple hours’ drive from Poreč, the possibility of transferring to another nation to pursue her hoop dreams was intimidating. The transfer to Slovenia would end up paling in scope compared to Dojkić’s future undertakings. By the time she signed up with Virtus Bologna at 23, Dojkić had actually played expertly for clubs in Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Russia and Hungary.

Understandably, continuously moving in between foreign nations to play expert basketball was challenging for the young Dojkić, however she associates much of her durability on and off the court to the relocations. “Even though I wanted to give up a lot of times because it was very tough living in Moscow at such a young age … this is now [paying off], all these sacrifices that I made,” she stated.

This season with Virtus Bologna, Dojkić is balancing 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.2 helps per video game. She shoots 41.5 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from deep and 83.3 percent from the complimentary toss line, a strong set of divides that makes sure defenses can never ever let her breathe.

Though her service in EuroLeague never ever went without notification, her efficiency at EuroBasket 2021 was what truly catapulted her onto the radars of WNBA groups. Dojkić had currently just recently signed an agreement with the New York Liberty in the summertime of 2021, however the regards to the offer failed due to the fact that EuroBasket disrupted the start of the WNBA season.

Once EuroBasket 2021 began, possibly the Liberty’s searching department felt vindicated that the lady they had actually discovered appeared on a global phase; or possibly they felt a twinge of remorse seeing the gamer they release control.

Despite Croatia winning simply one video game, Dojkić went on an individual tear at EuroBasket. As the captain of the group, she balanced 20.3 points per video game, the third-highest average of the competition behind WNBA gamers Jonquel Jones and Emma Meesseman. Though her performance suffered when she moved into a more popular scoring function, Dojkić more than offseted it with her trademarked death vision.

Croatia’s sole win was a taking apart of the Czech Republic in which Dojkić published 24 points on 58 percent shooting to support 7 helps. Though this efficiency put her on the radars of WNBA scouts, she still required some more representatives in EuroLeague prior to another group was prepared to sign her to an agreement.

Two years and countless hours of work after EuroBasket, Dojkić was lastly used an agreement by the Seattle Storm. “Seattle was the fastest and most professional,” Dojkić stated. “We were really understanding each other perfectly. They saw me in such a good way even though we just had a few talks.”

Dojkić understood quickly that the Storm were the group for her. “Sometimes you feel that connection,” she stated. “Sometimes you need to follow your feelings, and I really decided based on that.”

Dojkić’s offer, the particular regards to which the Storm have actually not advertised, is non-guaranteed. As an undrafted novice, she will need to show herself on every belongings to make an irreversible location in the league. Dojkić mentions her years of expert play as adequate preparation, nevertheless. “I gained a lot of experience playing on such a professional, high level,” she stated. “From such a young age I started to compete against much older and stronger basketball players. This developed my game at a young age at such a high level.”

Dojkić has actually bet many WNBA stars like Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart and Britney Griner throughout their particular stints overseas, so she is currently rather accustomed to the rigors of WNBA competitors. “When you play against them, nothing can surprise you that much when you go to the WNBA in my opinion,” she stated.

Despite her experience playing amongst WNBA gamers, Dojkić takes care not to end up being extremely positive about her shift to the league. “I will need more adaptation on the different style of the game [in the WNBA],” she confessed.

As her season with Bologna unwind in May, she will formally start her journey to Seattle. Whether Seattle is an irreversible house or another drop in Dojkić’s nomadic basketball profession stays to be seen, however she cannot await the shift. “It’s another world for me, so I’m really looking forward to it,” she stated.

With the lights due to shine brighter on her than ever in the past, Dojkić can’t assist however feel pleased of the chance to play in the WNBA. “For me, EuroLeague was a dream, but also I will say this WNBA thing is a gift,” she stated. “The organizations, arenas, marketing places … it’s something else that we don’t really have here.” Dojkić’s recognition of the WNBA’s high-ends functions as a positive criticism of the abroad video game, nevertheless.

“The growth [of women’s basketball] is more visible there in the states than here in Europe,” she stated. “Here I think we should improve a lot of things such as marketing, media and social interactions and things.” Though by no implies an ideal procedure of assistance and direct exposure, comparing the social networks followings of the WNBA to those of the EuroLeague supports Dojkić’s medical diagnosis. @EuroLeagueWomen on Instagram has simply 98,000 fans compared to the WNBA’s 1.3 million; on Twitter the WNBA’s 806,000 fans overshadow the EuroLeague’s 37,000.

Though she invested the last years living out her dream in EuroLeague, the league’s instability concerns Dojkić. “Economically, ten years [ago] it was much better, but now it’s not such a great situation in Europe,” she stated. In her eyes, assistance for the ladies’s video game in Europe is sputtering compared to the fast development of the WNBA. “In the US I think they’re really improving … but we’re struggling to improve in Europe,” she stated.

Even then, as far as Dojkić is worried, she has actually done her task if she is somebody women around the globe can appreciate. “I believe [I am] really proof that… even from small countries [women] have a way to reach [our] dreams and goals,” she stated.

She currently has countless points, rebounds and helps to her name, both in EuroLeague play and global play. She currently has actually shown her worth in front of audiences throughout Europe. Now, Ivana Dojkić is preparing to transfer to yet another foreign nation and make an area in the WNBA.

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