Nemanja Bjelica (SRB)
to read

Bjelica now leading the charge for Fenerbahce Ulker

ISTANBUL (FIBA Basketball World Cup/Euroleague) - This season's evidence suggests the Minnesota Timberwolves knew what they were doing back in 2010 when they used the 35th pick in that summer's NBA Draft to select a player with a lot of promise, Serbia's Nemanja Bjelica.

Not ready to cross the Atlantic at that time, one can safely assume that after this season the 26-year-old Fenerbahce Ulker star will give serious thought to leaving for the NBA's T-Wolves.

A key member of Serbia's national team since 2009, Bjelica showed last summer that he could compete with the best at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, averaging 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Yes, the 2.09m forward does a little bit of everything to help his teams win basketball games and reach the Final.

He's now in the best form of his career, and excelling on the biggest stage of the old continent, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

Bjelica's impact on the Fener team has been significant.

Without him, the Istanbul giants would not now be challenging CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos for first place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Group F.

Bjelica is averaging 12.5ppg, 10rpg in the Top 16.

That rebounding average makes him joint No. 1 in the category with Crvena Zvezda center Boban Marjanovic.

Fener carry a seven-game winning streak into Friday night's home clash with EA7 Emporio Armani, with Bjelica averaging 14.14ppg in that successful run.

It's his plays on defense, though, that often creates the biggest buzz.

Zeljko Obradovic's team, which knocked off title contenders Olympiacos last week, can rejoin CSKA (9-2) at the top of Group F with a home triumph over the Italians.

With Bjelica leading the way, the odds are pretty good that Fener will get the win.

Bjelica has played in European basketball long enough to know that at no time can he or his teammates relax.

He said it best after Fenerbahce's recent victory over Niznhy Novgorod.

We have to continue fighting - Bjelica