Goga Bitadze

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Goga Bitadze
No. 11 – Mega Bemax
PositionCenter
LeagueSerbian League
Personal information
Born (1999-07-20) 20 July 1999 (age 19)
Sagarejo, Georgia
NationalityGeorgian
Listed height2.12 m (6 ft 11 in)
Listed weight114 kg (251 lb)
Career information
Playing career2015–present
Career history
2015–2016Vita Tbilisi
2016–presentMega Bemax
2016–2017Smederevo
2018–2019Budućnost
Career highlights and awards

Goga Bitadze (born 20 July 1999) is a Georgian professional basketball player for Mega Bemax of the ABA League, and the Serbian League. Listed at 2.12 m (6 ft 11 12 in) and 114 kilograms (251 lbs), he plays the center position.[1] He is considered one of the top international prospects and a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NBA draft.[2][3]

Born in Sagarejo, Bitadze started playing basketball professionally with VITA Tbilisi in the VTB United League. In 2015, he moved to Serbian club Mega Basket and was loaned to Serbian League team Smederevo 1953 in the following year. Upon his return to Mega in 2017–18, Bitadze was named most valuable player (MVP) of the Junior ABA League and became a key player for the senior team. At the end of 2018, he was loaned to Budućnost in Montenegro and was named EuroLeague Rising Star for the 2018–19 season.

Bitadze is a member of the Georgian national basketball team. He was named to the national team at EuroBasket 2017 and made his debut at FIBA World Cup qualifiers in 2017. Previously, Bitadze represented Georgia at the junior level in FIBA competition.

Early life and career[edit]

Bitadze was born in Sagarejo, a town in eastern Georgia.[4] His father was a professional basketball player whose career was cut short by injury.[5] Although Bitadze did not watch basketball in his childhood, he started playing the game when he was 6 years old, because he saw himself as "active and tall."[4] As he became more involved in basketball, he began idolizing Georgian players Zaza Pachulia and Tornike Shengelia, as well as NBA stars Pau Gasol and Shaquille O'Neal.[4][6] On 31 May 2013, Bitadze scored 17 points to help his school team Hyundai win the national under-14 championship over Gori.[7] He also played in the Georgian under-16 league for three years. In 2014–15, his final season with Hyundai at the under-16 level, Bitadze averaged 23.1 points, 16.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3.8 blocks per game.[8] Through his early career, Bitadze trained in the junior ranks of Georgian club VITA Tbilisi.[9]

Professional career[edit]

VITA Tbilisi (2015–2016)[edit]

In the 2015–16 season, Bitadze played professionally for VITA Tbilisi in the VTB United League.[10] He made his debut at age 16 and consequently became the youngest player in league history.[11] Through 6 games, Bitadze averaged 2.8 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 13.8 minutes per game.[12]

Mega Basket (2016–present)[edit]

Junior success and Smederevo loan (2016–17)[edit]

On 2 December 2015, he signed with Mega Basket of the Basketball League of Serbia (KLS) and ABA League.[13] Bitadze was drawn to the club because it had produced many NBA players like Nikola Jokić and Ivica Zubac, and he thought the Serbian league was "well run."[4][14] He described the move, "It was hard for me for a couple of months. I was really frustrated, far away from my family and far away from my friends. It was hard, but then slowly I got used to it... you have to sacrifice in order to achieve something big and get something even bigger."[15] In December 2015, Bitadze averaged 7.8 points and 4 rebounds per game to help Mega's junior team win the Torneo Città di Roma and qualify for the 2015–16 Adidas Next Generation Tournament (ANGT).[10][16] In three games at the ANGT, he averaged 4.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.[17]

For the 2016–17 season, Bitadze was loaned to Serbian club Smederevo 1953, which competed in the KLS.[18] Through 19 games, he averaged 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.[10] Bitadze debuted on October 8, 2016, recording 5 points and 4 rebounds in a 75–71 loss to Borac Čačak.[19] On October 29 versus Napredak Kruševac, he scored a season-high 18 points, a mark he would match three more times in the season.[20] Bitadze recorded his first double-double on April 1, 2017 against Dunav Stari Banovci, with 18 points and 11 rebounds.[21] In addition, he assumed a leading role for the Mega Basket junior team at the 2016–17 ANGT. Bitadze averaged 17.7 points per game and led the tournament with 10 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per contest, en route to making the All-Tournament Team.[22]

Rise to stardom (2017–2018)[edit]

He returned to Mega entering the 2017–18 season and mainly played with the senior team.[10] Through 22 games in the ABA League, Bitadze averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game, and through 12 games in the KLS, he averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.[23] He debuted on 1 October 2017, recording 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a 95–88 win over Cibona.[24] In January 2018, Bitadze briefly played for Mega's junior team and helped capture the Junior ABA League championship. After averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds in the final tournament, he was named league MVP and earned Ideal Five recognition.[25] On 20 January, Bitadze scored 23 points versus Cedevita, his season-high mark in the ABA League.[26] He declared for the 2018 NBA draft on 12 April and was considered a possible second-round pick.[27] Bitadze recorded 19 points and season-bests of 15 rebounds and 6 blocks on 24 April, in a 92–90 loss to Mladost Zemun in the KLS.[28] On 30 May, he had his best scoring effort of the season, posting 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting in an 83–61 victory over Vršac in KLS play.[29] Bitadze withdrew from the 2018 NBA draft on 11 June, less than two weeks from draft night.[30]

To start the 2018–19 season, he continued playing for Mega. In an exhibition game versus NCAA Division I team Kentucky on 11 August 2018, Bitadze suffered an injury towards the end of the first half and did not return.[31] On 30 September, in his ABA League season debut, he chipped in 24 points and 12 rebounds in an 80–79 win over Igokea.[32] On 30 October, two days after recording 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks against Mornar Bar, Bitadze was named monthly MVP in the ABA League.[33] In his following appearance on 3 November, he scored a season-high 28 points, shooting 10-of-11 from the field, while posting 11 rebounds and 4 blocks in an 81–74 loss to Partizan.[34] On 24 November, Bitadze scored 28 points again, leading his team to an 82–80 victory over Cibona.[35] Through 11 games for Mega, all of which were in the ABA League, he averaged 20.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game.[10]

Budućnost (2018–2019)[edit]

On 20 December 2018, Bitadze was loaned to Montenegrin club Budućnost, which competed in the Montenegrin League, ABA League, and EuroLeague.[36] He joined the team for the remainder of the season.[37] Reflecting on the transition to his new club, Bitadze said, "It was not an easy situation, especially the first couple of days. I mean, it is still hard now to get used to things. But my teammates and coaches helped me."[15] In his first game for Budućnost, on 24 December, he recorded 12 points and 4 rebounds versus Krka in the ABA League.[38] Four days later, Bitadze made his EuroLeague debut, chipping in 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks in a 93–88 loss to Bayern Munich.[39] On 3 January 2019, he had another strong EuroLeague performance, posting 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks off the bench in a 111–94 defeat to Olimpia Milano.[40] After 13 games, Bitadze averaged 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game and claimed EuroLeague Rising Star honors as the best under-22 player in the EuroLeague.[41]

National team career[edit]

Junior national team[edit]

Bitadze played for the Georgian national under-17 team at the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship Division B, averaging 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game en route to a fifth-place finish.[10] He had his best scoring display in the tournament on 13 August 2015, posting 24 points and 11 rebounds in an 80–66 loss to Sweden.[42] At the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Division B, Bitadze averaged 11.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.1 blocks per game for the Georgian under-18 team.[43] On 6 August 2016, he recorded tournament-best marks of 23 points and 9 blocks while grabbing 13 rebounds in a 103–101 win over Bulgaria.[44] Bitadze returned to national team play in 2017, averaging 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game at the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship Division B.[10]

Senior national team[edit]

Bitadze was first named to the Georgian senior national team at EuroBasket 2017, but a calf ligament injury forced him to sit out of the entire competition. Regardless, he "learned a lot on and off the court" by observing his veteran teammates, including Zaza Pachulia and Giorgi Shermadini.[45] On 24 November 2017, Bitadze debuted for the senior national team versus Germany during qualification for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, scoring 4 points in 17 minutes.[45][46]

Career statistics[edit]

Cited from RealGM[10]
Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Domestic leagues[edit]

Season Team League GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2015–16 Vita Tbilisi VTB League 6 2 13.8 .316 .500 .500 1.7 .7 .5 .7 2.8
2016–17 Smederevo Serbian League 19 8 19.0 .621 .357 .622 4.4 .7 .4 1.2 10.6
2017–18 Mega Basket Adriatic League 22 22 23.4 .544 .222 .672 6.9 1.0 .7 2.1 11.8
Serbian League 12 12 24.3 .643 .235 .593 6.7 1.0 1.2 1.6 15.9
2018–19 Mega Basket Adriatic League 11 11 28.4 .645 .417 .684 7.9 1.2 .6 2.5 20.2
2018–19 Budućnost VOLI Adriatic League 19 6 20.4 .604 .400 .626 4.8 .5 .5 1.3 10.4
Career 89 61 21.6 .562 .355 .616 5.4 .9 .7 1.6 12.0

EuroLeague[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2018–19 Budućnost VOLI 13 4 24.1 .597 .313 .714 6.4 1.2 .5 2.3 12.1 16.3
Career 13 4 24.1 .597 .313 .714 6.4 1.2 .5 2.3 12.1 16.3

National team[edit]

Source[47]

Year Competition GP MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2019 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification 10 22.0 .455 .238 .612 5.9 .9 1.1 1.6 11.5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Goga Bitadze". Eurospects. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  2. ^ Kalbrosky, Bryan (22 January 2019). "2019 aggregate NBA mock draft 4.0: Murray State's Ja Morant is Top 3". HoopsHype. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  3. ^ Woo, Jeremy (30 January 2019). "2019 NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Zion Williamson Remains on Top, Ja Morant Continues to Skyrocket". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Hein, David (21 April 2017). "Bitadze goes from land of wrestlers to talent-developing Mega". Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  5. ^ Simonishvili, Vazha (25 June 2017). "NBA-ის კემპი, იოკიჩი, ფაჩულია - ინტერვიუ გოგა ბითაძესთან" (in Georgian). SportAll. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  6. ^ Bitadze, Goga, and Jonathan Givony (12 September 2016). Goga Bitadze Interview from NBA Basketball Without Borders Europe Camp (Video). Finland: DraftExpress.
  7. ^ "1-ელი ექსპერიმენტალური სკოლის გუნდი "ჰიუნდაი" ჩემპიონია!" (in Georgian). Georgian Basketball Federation. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Goga Bitadze". Georgian Basketball Federation. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  9. ^ Fernández, Marcos (22 May 2017). "Conoce al pívot georgiano Goga Bitadze: la sensación del Adidas Next Generation" (in Spanish). Gigantes del Basket. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Goga Bitadze Player Profile". RealGM. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  11. ^ Kharazov, Levan (2 December 2015). "გოგა ბითაძე სერბულ "მეგა ლეკსში" გადავიდა" (in Georgian). MySports. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Goga Bitadze". VTB United League. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  13. ^ Obradovic, Igor (2 December 2015). "Goga Bitadze (ex Vita Tbilisi) joins Mega Leks". Eurobasket. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  14. ^ Rangelov, Miloš (21 May 2017). "Ko je Goga Bitadze? Gruzijac od kojeg Mega pravi novog Jokića". Blic (in Serbian). Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b Petrinovic, Igor (15 January 2019). "Goga Bitadze, Buducnost: 'We are not going to give up'". EuroLeague. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Final, Stellazzurra Basketball vs. Mega Leks Belgrade - Torneo Citta di Roma". EuroLeague. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Bitadze, Goga". EuroLeague. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  18. ^ Givony, Jonathan; Kamalsky, Matt (7 June 2017). "2017 Adidas EuroCamp Rosters and Preview". DraftExpress. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  19. ^ "KK Smederevo 1953 71, KK Borac Cacak 75". RealGM. 8 October 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Goga Bitadze Game Logs". RealGM. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  21. ^ "KK Smederevo 1953 86, KK Dunav Stari Banovci 75". RealGM. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  22. ^ "ANGT MVP Fevrier of Paris headlines All-Tournament Team". Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Goga Bitadze Basketball Player Profile". Eurobasket. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  24. ^ "KK Cibona 88, KK Mega Bemax 95". RealGM. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  25. ^ "The MVP award belongs to Goga Bitadze". ABA League. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  26. ^ "KK Mega Bemax 73, Cedevita 75". RealGM. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  27. ^ Givony, Jonathan (12 April 2018). "Georgian center Goga Bitadze declaring for NBA draft". ESPN. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  28. ^ "KK Mladost Admiral Zemun 92, KK Mega Bemax 90". RealGM. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  29. ^ "KK Mega Bemax 83, KK Vrsac Swisslion 61". RealGM. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  30. ^ "Charalampopoulos, Bitadze withdraw from 2018 NBA draft". EuroHoops. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Kentucky Convincing Against Mega, Milojevic: "Big Experience For Our Young Team"". Mega Basket. 12 August 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  32. ^ "KK Mega Bemax 80, BC Igokea 79". RealGM. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  33. ^ "MVP of October: Goga Bitadze (Mega Bemax)". ABA League. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  34. ^ "KK Partizan 81, KK Mega Bemax 74". RealGM. 3 November 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  35. ^ "KK Cibona 80, KK Mega Bemax 82". RealGM. 24 November 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Buducnost adds young star Bitadze". EuroLeague. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  37. ^ "Bitadze on loan in Buducnost until the end of ABA League". Mega Basket. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Buducnost 64, Krka Novo Mesto 69". RealGM. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Bayern rallies from 17 down, overcomes Buducnost". EuroLeague. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  40. ^ "Milan blasts Buducnost with record scoring performance". EuroLeague. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  41. ^ "Goga Bitadze named EuroLeague Rising Star". EuroHoops. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  42. ^ "Georgia 66, Sweden 80". RealGM. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  43. ^ "Goga Bitadze's profile". FIBA. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  44. ^ "Georgia 103, Bulgaria 101". RealGM. 6 August 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  45. ^ a b "Facing Raduljica, Zirbes helps Bitadze become big future hope for Georgia". FIBA. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  46. ^ "Georgia 70, Germany 79". RealGM. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  47. ^ "Goga Bitadze - FIBA Europe". Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]