Hezonja with Barcelona B in October 2012
|No. 23 – Orlando Magic|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
25 February 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||→Barcelona B (Spain)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Mario Hezonja (born 25 February 1995) is a Croatian professional basketball player who currently plays 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 the Croatian club, Zagreb. In 2011, he won the Euroleague 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 the Spanish club Barcelona at the age of 17. He also has 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 February 1, 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 April 23, 2015, Hezonja declared himself eligible for the 2015 NBA draft as an international "early-entrant", just days after Barcelona's elimination in the Euroleague. Some Spanish and Croatian media saw this move as a player's response to poor communication with Barcelona's head coach, Xavi Pascual, throughout the final few months. More specifically, the tension between the two could be seen in Pascual's decision to leave Hezonja on the bench in three Euroleague games, on March 5, against Panathinaikos, on March 25 against Žalgiris and in the crucial Game 4 of the quarterfinal series against Olympiacos on March 23. Barcelona eventually finished the season losing in the final series of the Spanish League championship, after 3–0 loss to Real Madrid.
Croatian national team
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.
|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||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The Euroleague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season, he also played in domestic competition.
Career achievement and honors
- Junior club honors
- Senior club honors
- 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship: MVP
- 2011 Euroleague 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.
- "ŠPANJOLCI SE NADAJU Neka Barcelona potjera trenera Pascuala, samo da Hezonja ostane!". jutarnji.hr (in Croatian). 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.
- Casey, Dan (7 August 2011). "Super Mario Leads Croatia to Gold". FIBA Europe.com.
- 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. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mario Hezonja.|
- Mario Hezonja at acb.com (Spanish)
- Mario Hezonja at draftexpress.com
- Mario Hezonja at eurobasket.com
- Mario Hezonja at euroleague.com
- Mario Hezonja at fiba.com