Hezonja (right) with the Magic in 2017
|No. 8 – Orlando Magic|
February 25, 1995 |
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||218 lb (99 kg)|
|NBA draft||2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall|
|Selected by the Orlando Magic|
|2012–2013||→FC Barcelona B|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Mario Hezonja (Croatian pronunciation: [ˌmâːrio ˈxêzoɲa]; born 25 February 1995) is a Croatian professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also represents the Croatian national team internationally. He primarily plays at the shooting guard position, but he can also play as a small forward. He was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic.
Hezonja was promoted to the club level in his native Croatia when he was 12 years old, and at the age of 13, he stayed for two seasons with Dubrovnik. In 2010, Hezonja signed a contract with Croatian club, Zagreb. In 2011, he won the Nike International Junior Tournament with Zagreb. He was also named to the All-Tournament team, alongside teammate, Dario Šarić. He was forced to sit out the 2011–12 season because of mononucleosis.
In July 2012, Hezonja signed a three-year contract with Spanish club Barcelona at the age of 17. He also had an option to extend for additional four years with the club. His former club Zagreb also got 150,000 euros in the name of buyout, as he was still under contract. For the 2012–13 season, he was loaned to the reserve team of the club: Barcelona B of the LEB Oro, Spanish second division. In 2012, Hezonja was nominated for the FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year Award, but Jonas Valančiūnas eventually won the award.
Hezonja played in the Euroleague for the first time in 2012–13 season. He appeared in only 2 games, averaging 2.5 points and 2 rebounds per game. In 2013, Hezonja was invited to be a part of the world team at the Nike Hoop Summit, but couldn't attend because of injury.
During the 2013–14 season, Hezonja became a more constant part of the Barcelona's first team rotation, although playing very limited minutes. Starting with the 2014–15 season, Hezonja's role in the team increased, from playing only in the garbage time in the previous season to around 15 minutes per game on constant basis.
On 1 February 2015, Hezonja hit 8-of-8 from the three-point line in a 101–53 Barcelona's win against La Bruixa d'Or Manresa, becoming the Spanish League MVP for the week 19. Barcelona finished the participation in the Euroleague after quarterfinal series loss to Olympiacos. Over 22 Euroleague games played, Hezonja averaged 7.7 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist per game.
On 23 April 2015, Hezonja declared himself eligible for the 2015 NBA draft as an international "early-entrant", just days after Barcelona's elimination in the Euroleague. He had been identified as a potential lottery pick early in his career, and surprised many by opting not to declare for the draft in 2014, his first year of eligibility. Some Spanish and Croatian media saw this move as a player's response to poor communication throughout the final few months with Barcelona's head coach Xavi Pascual; Pascal denied any problems in communication. Barcelona eventually finished the season losing in the final series of the Spanish League championship, after 3–0 loss to Real Madrid.
Orlando Magic (2015–present)
On 25 June 2015, Hezonja was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Orlando Magic in the 2015 NBA draft. On 10 July 2015, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Magic. He made his debut for the Magic in the team's season-opening loss to the Washington Wizards on 28 October 2015, recording 11 points in 25 minutes off the bench. On 31 January 2016, he scored a then season-high 17 points in a 119–114 win over the Boston Celtics. On 28 February 2016, he made his first career NBA start and dunked four seconds into the game, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes of action in a 130–116 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On 2 March 2016, he scored a season-high 21 points in a 102–89 win over the Chicago Bulls. On 11 April 2016, he set career highs with seven assists and five steals while scoring 19 points in a 107–98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
On 28 October 2016, Hezonja scored 13 points in a 108–82 loss to the Detroit Pistons. He tied that season high on 4 April 2017, registering another 13-point effort in a 122–102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the Magic's season finale on 12 April 2017, Hezonja grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in a 113–109 win over Detroit.
Hezonja was named Most Valuable Player of the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, after leading his team with a double-double in the final, 21 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. Over the tournament, he averaged 20 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Hezonja was part of the senior Croatian national team that participated at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He also represented Croatia at the 2015 EuroBasket, where they were eliminated in the eighth finals by Czech Republic. Over 6 tournament games, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 41.2% shooting from the field.
|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|
Career achievement and honors
- Junior club honors
- Senior club honors
- 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship: MVP
- 2011 Nike International Junior Tournament: All-Tournament Team
- Sportske novosti award for Fair Play (2011)
- 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship: All-Tournament Team
- 2013 Torneo de L'Hospitalet: All-Tournament Team
- LEB Oro Rising Star (2013)
- Vera, Sergio. "Hezonja, la gran perla que aterriza en Barcelona" (in Spanish). Sport.es. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Valanciunas Young Men’s POY 2012". FIBA Europe.com. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Mario Hezonja, jugador de la jornada 19" (in Spanish). ACB.com. 1 February 2015.
- Vecenie, Sam. "Croatian wing Mario Hezonja to declare for 2015 NBA Draft". cbssports.com. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Súper Mario se harta y se apunta al Draft". marca.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Ramos, Jesús P. (1 April 2015). "Pascual: "Con Hezonja no pasa nada"". mundodeportivo.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Real Madrid make it 4 out of 4". marca.com (in Spanish). 24 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- Denton, John (25 June 2015). "Magic Select Mario Hezonja with Fifth Overall Pick". NBA.com. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- "Magic Sign Mario Hezonja". NBA.com. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Late basket from Wall rallies Wizards over Magic 88-87". NBA.com. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- "Postgame Report: Magic vs. Celtics (1/31/16)". NBA.com. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "Big Magic start dooms 76ers to eighth straight loss, 130-116". NBA.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Vucevic scores 24 as Magic overwhelm Bulls, 102-89". NBA.com. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "Magic dominant at times, beat Bucks in home finale, 107-98". NBA.com. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "Mario Hezonja 2016-17 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- "Orlando hangs on to defeat Detroit 113-109". ESPN.com. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- Casey, Dan (7 August 2011). "Super Mario Leads Croatia to Gold". FIBA Europe.com.
- "CROATIA UNVEIL AMBITIOUS EUROBASKET SQUAD". eurobasket2015.org. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "CZECHS MAKE FIRST QUARTER-FINAL TRIP". .eurobasket2015.org. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Mario Hezonja". eurobasket2015.org. FIBA Europe. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Casey, Dan (7 August 2011). "MVP Hezonja Leads All-Tournament Team". FIBA Europe.com. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Košarkašice i Hezonja uz Ivicu i Blanku" (in Croatian). Kosarka.org. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Romero, Pablo (2013-06-24). "Un quinteto plagado de ilusiones" (in Spanish). AdeccoOro.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
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