Bogdan Bliznyuk continues NBA Draft preparation


Bogdan Bliznyuk, who was named the 2018 Big Sky Conference MVP, will make his NBA Summer League debut on July 6, 2018. | Easterner Archives

By Michael Brock, Sports Editor

Since capping off a record-breaking EWU career by being named the 2018 Big Sky Conference MVP, senior forward Bogdan Bliznyuk has been working tirelessly to fulfill his dream of playing professional basketball.

Bliznyuk took another step forward in that quest on May 24, when he took part in a pre-NBA Draft workout session for the Detroit Pistons.

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” EWU head coach Shantay Legans told The Easterner in a phone interview. “I’m really excited for him. He deserves it, because he’s worked his butt off to get to this point.”

The Pistons, who had five other players in to train on the same day, currently have the 42nd pick. The draft takes place on June 21 in Brooklyn.

Senior forward Bogdan Bliznyuk sizes up the Northern Arizona defense on March 3. Bliznyuk concluded his career at EWU with 16 school records. | Easterner Archives

The 6-foot-6 forward is currently with his agency in Los Angeles working on his game and preparing for more pre-draft sessions. Legans isn’t certain of the total amount, but said that his star player will have “a lot more [workouts] coming up” in the next few weeks.

“He’s just going to be getting ready,” said Legans. “Going to be working out with NBA players, and working out for professional teams.”

Bliznyuk is trying to follow in the footsteps of former Eagle Jacob Wiley, who went undrafted last summer but signed a two-way contract with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Wiley played for the Nets in Summer League, before playing in five games for the Nets and 16 for their G League affiliate.

Bliznyuk hopes to take part in Summer League either for a team that drafts him or one that picks up his rights. Summer League takes place from July 6-17 in Las Vegas.

Prior to working out for the Pistons, Bliznyuk became the first EWU men’s basketball player to be selected to the Reese’s College All-Star game. The contest, which was played on March 30 at the Final Four in San Antonio, features the best NCAA Division I seniors. Bliznyuk had 11 points, three rebounds and two steals as his West team won 98–94.

The Big Sky Conference’s all-time leading scorer was also selected to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (from April 11-14 in Virginia), where he averaged 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field.

“He’s got all the talent in the world,” said Legans. “I’m just looking forward to him getting out there and showing exactly what he can do. Because he’s good enough to play in the NBA.”