Against Luka Doncic, Plano’s John Roberson won the Slovenia-Bosnia game from the Dallas Stars

Cologne, Germany – Watch dozens of Dallas-area basketball fans Slovenia European Basketball Championship match on Sunday against Bosnia and Herzegovinaexpecting to watch Mavericks star Luka Doncic lead another victory with confidence and flair that shake his opponent.

And viewers have seen it from a stand out in Dallas — in the past.

John Roberson, a 2007 Plano graduate who led the Wildcats to the 2006 state championship, led Bosnia to a shock 97-93 victory with 23 points and tortured Slovenia behind the arc with seven three-pointers.

as such Doncic suffered from shooting and wrist painThe 5-foot-11 Roberson made a late clutch and played the annoying spoiler of most Dallas folks who switched allegiances from the Mavericks to the Slovenian national team during the EuroBasket.

But not for a few in Plano, where his family encouraged one of the biggest turmoils of this tournament and one of the biggest milestones of Roberson’s winding career.

“It feels crazy to go out there and play on this podium and at this level,” Roberson said. “When you’re there, you don’t really think about what that means. You just do your job, you play basketball, you have fun, and for us to win, it means everything.”

Most of them in Dallas have likely lost track of Roberson’s accomplishments in the 15 years since he starred in Plano – in 2005-2006 as a freshman who moved from Florida and led the Wildcats’ UIL Class 5A State Championships, then as a senior who averaged 25.4 A point and 6.1 helps win the Dallas Morning News boys’ basketball player awards and Texas boys’ basketball.

After moving to Plano and starting at Texas Tech from 2007-11, Roberson continued the Mavericks’ rise with Dirk Nowitzki as the finalists’ contender, and finally the 2011 champion.

But as the Mavericks transitioned from the Nowitzki legend to Doncic’s immediate stardom, Roberson’s rise as a professional took place far from the local spotlight.

Since 2011, Roberson has played for clubs in Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Hungary, France, Russia, Australia, Turkey and Spain. Last season, he donned a suit in Strasbourg, France, and this summer he signed a contract to move to Manisa, Turkey.

But not in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

So how did he finish off the starting point against Doncic in the EuroBasket tournament he had never heard of until adulthood?

Roberson’s coach in Sweden from 2012 to 2015, Verdan Bosnic, was also the coach of the Bosnian national team until this summer. They had formed a strong relationship in Sweden, and Bosnik approached Roberson two years ago with a question.

Does Roberson want to obtain Bosnian citizenship?

FIBA rules allow national teams to transfer one player from another heritage on each roster — similar to how New Jersey-based Slovenia center Mike Toby sought dual citizenship as well.

Roberson was interested.

In addition to national team eligibility, additional European citizenship can help American players reach higher levels and earn more money abroad. Most leagues limit the number of American players on each roster, but dual nationals like Roberson and Toby do not count toward the quota.

“I know the history of basketball in Bosnia, and I know they love basketball,” Roberson said, perhaps thinking of a section of the bare-shirted Bosnian men who jumped and cheered throughout the second half of Sunday. “They are really passionate fans. It was an honor for [Bosnic] Really for choosing me to be a part of this.”

Doncic and Slovenia may wish he had not.

With Slovenia paying extra defensive attention to Bosnia’s National Basketball Association leader Josef Nurkic, Roberson took advantage of extra space behind the arc on Sunday.

In one of 3 indicators in the second quarter, he worked on a screen behind Nurkic to lose the Slovenian defender and help Bosnia to regain the lead (44-42).

There is still a heartwarming threat that Slovenia will be tamed, right?

Less so when Roberson used a similar move on first possession from the end of the first half to tie the match at 52.

Not at all when Roberson’s last hat-trick increased Bosnia’s lead to four points (91-87) with 3:02 remaining.

Like the Mavericks, Slovenia used Doncic as a low man in defense to help him conserve energy and distance. Roberson was often guarded by Slovenian guards Goran and Zoran Dragic on the other end.

But they met face-to-face late in each run.

Initially, Roberson caught the ball in the left corner and checked the clock to make sure he could get a clean look before the halftime bell.

On his way: Doncic jumped off the ground to close out his 3-point attempt.

“He’s huge, so if he jumped at me like that, he kicked me out,” said Roberson, laughing.

With four seconds left, Roberson held onto control and wanted to keep Bosnia’s two-point lead while Doncic chased him towards the touchline for a foul.

Doncic hit Roberson in the back after the whistle, but the 33-year-old showed no hesitation after that.

Roberson climbed to the line and hit two final points free throws against the Dallas point guards.

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