Georgian center Goga Bitadze has submitted paperwork to make himself eligible for the 2018 NBA draft, his agent Misko Raznatovic told ESPN.
“I believe this will be good for my career,” Bitadze told ESPN. “It's exciting to be able to make my dream real, and this is another step towards it. I think it will be good to get there as soon as possible, but again, at the right time, to get even better and make bigger steps.”
An 18-year-old, 6-foot-11 center, Bitadze plays for Mega Bemax in Serbia, which competes in the Adriatic League. He is averaging 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 23 minutes per game, shooting 54 percent from 2 range and 67 percent from the free throw line. He has also played a significant role for the Georgian senior national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this season.
Bitadze is just the third player in Adriatic league history -- along with Nikola Jokic and Ante Zizic -- to average 12 points and 7 rebounds per game as an 18-year old.
“To be honest I think I could do much more, especially on 3-point shooting, offensive rebounding and on defense, too,” Bitadze said. “It's good to have numbers like Nikola Jokic and Ante Zizic, but I have still a lot to work on."
Bitadze is currently the No. 65 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, and is considered a potential second-round pick candidate by NBA teams. As a 1999-born early-entry candidate, he has the opportunity to withdraw from the draft up until June 11 and can take part in any of the next three NBA draft cycles.
“It's my dream to get to the NBA, but I'm sure that my team and agents will make the best solution for my career and further developing,” Bitadze said. “I believe I can show NBA teams my shooting ability, athleticism and work ethic.”