LOGAN — Utah State coach Craig Smith has only been the head coach of the Aggies men’s basketball team for two seasons, yet in that time he has shown a real predilection for discovering and signing international prospects.
This offseason alone, USU has signed two European players, Polish center Szymon Zapala and Ukranian shooting guard Max Shulga, to say nothing of the internationals already on the team’s roster, including Portuguese center Neemias Queta, Australian guard Sean Bairstow and Polish center Kuba Karwowski.
According to a report by ESPN NBA Draft analyst and reporter Jonathan Givony on Sunday, the international presence at USU is only going to continue to grow. Per an unnamed source, Utah State has secured a commitment from 6-foot-5 Russian shooting guard Zakhar Vedischev.
Zakhar Vedischev has committed to Utah State, a source told ESPN. The 6'5 class of 2020 Russian guard had an excellent showing at last summer's FIBA U19 World Cup in Crete, including a 24 outburst against USA. Was a starter in the VTB league this season with Lokomotiv Kuban.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 21, 2020
The 19-year old Vedischev currently plays for Lokomotiv-Kuban, one of 13 teams in Russia’s VTB United League. As Givony noted in his report, Vedischev was a breakout performer at last summer’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Crete. He led the Russian team in scoring with an average of 16.5 points per game while shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-point line. He scored at least 22 points in each of the final three games of the competition, the highlight of which was a 24-point outing against the United States.
Per FIBA, Vedischev spent a few years in the U.S. at the nationally-renowned Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, playing alongside New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett, in order to “learn English and get used to the athleticism of American basketball.”
Euro Hopes categorizes Vedischev as “a wing with average size and explosiveness... an elite shooter off the catch who can naturally hit shots off the dribble too, and never shows any hesitations in taking responsibilities in crunch time. Despite not being an elite creator because of his lack athleticism, he showed good instincts with the ball too, properly operating on the pick and roll and displaying excellent vision and passing skills.”