Sergey Karasev was taken 19th overall in the NBA Draft last month by the Cleveland Cavaliers, to the delight of slavophiles everywhere. It became clear almost immediately that Karasev was planning on coming over to the NBA right away, despite his young age of 19. With 1st overall choice Anthony Bennett injured, many were counting on Karasev to be a young prospect to keep an eye on at Las Vegas Summer League. That dream was squashed, though, when it became clear that Karasev was planning on playing at the World University Games with other young Russians. Taking place in Kazan, Russia, it makes sense that Karasev would want to play in a tournament that his country was hosting. So far, Karasev hasn't just been playing; he has been dominating.
In today's semifinal game against Canada, Karasev scored 20 points, recorded 10 rebounds, and passed out 7 assists in a 10 point victory. It is just a game, but I have been a little worried about Karasev's rebounding, so 10 against a pretty good Canadian team is pretty solid. His 20 points came on 12 shots, and he converted 6/7 free throws. This is excellent offensive efficiency.
While this isn't top quality competition, especially early in the tournament, the US team competing is comprised of several players who could be NBA level talents like Adreian Payne of Michigan State. That team will be playing to finish 9th tomorrow, while Karasev's Russian team plays Australia for the title. For the tournament, Karasev is putting up some obscenely good numbers. From NBA.com:
In four games, the 6'8, 200 lb guard/forward is averaging 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in just 20.2 minutes.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect to Karasev's performances have been his offensive efficiency. Karasev is shooting an absurd 67 percent from the field (33-of-50) including 60 percent (11-of-19) from beyond-the-arc and 71 percent (22-of-31) from two-point range.
I am trying hard not to get too excited about Karasev, but he really looks like he will be offensively skilled. Could be a real contributor down the road.