Weber State basketball: ‘Incredibly skilled big’ Marko Sarenac commits to WSU
As far as college basketball in the United States goes, Marko Sarenac was off the radar.
That’s because the 6-foot-10 Serbian plays for KK Spartak in Serbia’s top pro league and the 18-year-old was already under contract to continue with the team next season.
But after Nemanja Sarenac committed to play for Weber State men’s basketball two months ago, it began a process that will ultimately lead Marko to Ogden with his cousin.
Marko Sarenac announced his commitment to Weber State on Saturday, the third pledge to WSU’s 2023 class.
“It’s an offer I can’t refuse. I’ve always wanted to play in the U.S. and next season it will come true,” Sarenac said via text message. “I can’t wait.”
As an 18-year-old on a professional team of 25- to 35-year-olds, Marko Sarenac doesn’t typically play extended minutes for Spartak. But he excelled last summer on Serbia’s U18 national team and was poised to assume a larger role for his pro team next season.
“Marko is an incredibly skilled big man that played at the highest level of Serbian pro basketball,” said Brandon Goble, the well-known organizer of U.S. and international recruiting events and services provided by Verbal Commits and JUCO Advocate. “High major caliber player, great kid.”
On the way to Serbia’s third-place finish in the top division of FIBA’s U18 European Championships in Turkey, Sarenac averaged 11 points, six rebounds and 1.7 assists per game over six games in which he played rotational minutes, shooting 45% from the 3-point line.
In the opening round of knockout play against Montenegro, Sarenac totaled 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and zero turnovers in 27 minutes, shooting 9 of 14 overall and 4 of 6 from deep.
In a quarterfinal game against Israel, Sarenac had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Nemanja, the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter, had offers from BYU, Stanford, SMU and Yale. But there’s no list of college offers for the 6-foot-10 Marko Sarenac. After his cousin’s commitment, Weber State coaches spoke with Marko and now he’s changing his plan to play exclusively with the Spartak senior pro team next season. He’ll instead play for the Wildcats after turning 19 this summer.
“I want to improve and I believe that the best basketball is played in the U.S.,” Marko Sarenac said. “I consider Weber State to be an exceptional opportunity.”
The opportunity of wearing the same uniform as Nemanja proved to be enticing to Marko.
“We never played together,” Marko Sarenac said. “As kids we played one on one, that’s why I’m looking forward to being (on) the same team.”
Goble considers Marko Sarenac one of the top prospects in Serbia and worthy of a four-star recruiting evaluation.
“Size, skill level, toughness and experience — his ability with his size is a pretty rare thing in the U.S. in high school. Unique talent,” Goble said.
Marko Sarenac and Nemanja Sarenac are two of three commitments WSU has for the 2023 class. They join 6-foot-6 shooting guard Viljami Vartianen of Finland, who signed to Weber State in the November 2022 early period.