Sunday, January 17, 2010

Checking In On…Nikola Baran

Today at Welsh-Ryan Ramblings we’re going to start a new feature. Everyone once and awhile we’ll go around the country and take a quick look at what’s happening with a former Wildcat player or coach. It is my hope to eventually expand this feature to include interviews with former NU greats. If any former players are reading this and want to give the NU community an update on their current doings please send me and e-mail.

Today, we’re starting with former Wildcat center Nikola Baran who transferred from NU to Rollins College after the 2007-08 season. Most people probably remember Baran as a slim 6-7 guy who tried to play center, did poorly, and was eventually replaced by 6-8 Ivan Peljusic. I like to remember Baran for the picture above in which he shows the outpouring of emotion Wildcat players and fans had after NU finally broke through with their first Big Ten win in 2007-08 after a slew of close losses.

When NU recruited Baran the idea was that he would be a three point shooting big man. It never really worked out at Northwestern, but Nikola recently made a big splash in Division II with a three, and that’s part of the reason I want to spotlight him today. Baran's hit 25-of-59 threes this year, and when Rollins took on #2-ranked Florida Southern, it was a Nikola Baran three pointer with 2.3 second to go which gave Rollins the huge upset victory.

Overall, Baran averages 7.6 points per game for the Tars and plays just less than 20 minutes. On the face of it, you’d probably say Baran did the right thing leaving NU. He was undersized at center and NU brought in Kyle Rowley, Luka Mirkovic, and Davide Curletti in a single year. Then again, he might have found a position as a backup forward this season after Coble and Ryan down. Regardless, it appears he has found a home in central Florida and I wish him continued success.


Northwestern Basketball Fan said...

Good for Nikola. Thanks for the update. However, you misread Baran's stat column. He is 25 for 59 this season from the three point line (.424). He is playing much more than last year for Rollins.

Ryan said...

Noted and edited. I must have looked at his free throws. Which given those numbers shows he has to be mostly playing on the outside.