|Intro||Lithuanian basketball player|
|Is||Athlete Basketball player|
|From||Lithuania United States of America|
|Birth||3 May 1996, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, U.S.A.|
Domantas Sabonis (born May 3, 1996) is a Lithuanian American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously played in Spain for Unicaja Málaga's junior and senior teams before playing two seasons of college basketball for Gonzaga. He is the son of the Lithuanian basketball player Arvydas Sabonis, and was born in Portland, while his father was playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Despite being only a 16-year-old, on September 5, 2012, Sabonis debuted for Unicaja Málaga against Cibona Zagreb. He was later loaned to Clínicas Rincón for the 2012–13 season. He returned to Málaga for the 2013–14 season and debuted in the Liga ACB on October 13, 2013, becoming the youngest Unicaja player to debut in the ACB (17 years, 5 months and 10 days).
On October 18, 2013, Sabonis debuted in the Euroleague against Olympiacos Piraeus. In February 2014, he finished in the top 10 for the 2013 FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year Award voting. His best ACB game came on May 3, 2014, when he scored 13 points on 100% shooting. On May 10, 2014, Sabonis helped Unicaja's junior team win the Spain Youth Basketball League silver medal. In the final game, he recorded 14 points and eight rebounds. In January 2015, he finished in the top 5 for the 2014 FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year Award voting. During his time with Unicaja, he never signed a professional contract with salary in order to remain eligible for the NCAA.
"I like a lot of things about his game. He is extremely aggressive, plays with a motor, is always going hard. Really high level rebounder, great passer, physical player, and runs and moves exceptionally well for a big guy."
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Portland, Oregon||Sunny View School / Unicaja Malaga||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)||210 lb (95 kg)||Apr 17, 2014|
|Scout: N/A Rivals: 247Sports: ESPN: N/A ESPN grade: NR|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: NR Rivals: NR 247Sports: #26 ESPN: NR|
Sabonis declined a Unicaja offer of a 3-year $630,000 contract in order to play in the NCAA. He committed to NCAA Division I squad Gonzaga University prior to the 2014–15 season. On November 14, 2014, Domantas Sabonis solidly debuted by scoring 14 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing 2 assists, along with one steal and one block in 20 minutes. On February 3, 2015, after averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds per 26 minutes he was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week. After a stellar regular season with Gonzaga, Sabonis was named to the All-WCC Second team, as well as to the WCC All-Freshman team. On March 10, 2015 the Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the BYU Cougars 91–75 and won the WCC Tournament Title for the third straight time. Sabonis was one of the best players in the game with 15 points and 6 rebounds. During March Madness, Sabonis led Gonzaga to the Sweet 16 with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Gonzaga beat UCLA to make it to the Elite Eight, Gonzaga's first regional final with Mark Few as head coach and second overall. Sabonis scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds during that game. The season ended with a loss to the future champions Duke and Sabonis was named to the NCAA Tournament South Regional All-Tournament team. In his first NCAA season, Sabonis averaged 9.7 points, along with Gonzaga team highs of 66.8% field-goal percentage and 7.1 rebounds.
On April 4, 2015, Few told ESPN that Sabonis planned to return for his sophomore season at Gonzaga, adding that Sabonis never seriously considered declaring for the 2015 NBA draft.
On August 13, 2015, ESPN placed Domantas Sabonis 20th in its NCAA players rankings heading for the 2015-16 season, describing him as "one of the nation's best, and edgiest, rebounders".
"No one plays harder than Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis. The sophomore forward is a walking double-double, which could earn him third-team All-American honors."
Sabonis began his second NCAA season with an outstanding career-high performance of 26 points (2FG: 12/13, FT: 2/2); he also added 7 rebounds in a 91–52 win over Northern Arizona. On December 19, 2015, Sabonis set a new career high in points and rebounds, scoring 36 points (FG: 12/16, FT: 12/15) and adding a 16 rebounds; his team won 86–79. The Zags' head coach Mark Few said that he never had seen a monster line like that for a Zag. Two days later, Sabonis improved on another career high by dishing out 6 assists; he also scored 23 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and led Gonzaga past the Pepperdine Waves 99-73. On January 2, 2016, he was just one point shy of his scoring record with 35 points; he also added 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks in a thrilling come-from-behind victory in OT versus the San Francisco Dons 102–94. On January 9, 2016, Sabonis once again improved his rebounds record by grabbing 17 rebounds, and adding 28 points, 3 steals, 3 blocks and 4 assists, his team won 85–74. After the game, the Bulldogs head coach Mark Few said: "Sabonis, none of us can take for granted the type of year he is having... Such consistency, it's amazing". On January 21, 2016, nearly posted a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high 7 assists. Two days later, Sabonis grabbed a new career high of 20 rebounds, as well as 12 points and 2 assists. He was named to the 35-man midseason watchlist for the Naismith Trophy on February 11. On March 1, 2016, he was included into the First-team All-WCC. Two days later, Sabonis received CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.
On March 17, Sabonis began his second March Madness appearance by leading his team past the Seton Hall Pirates 68-52 to the Round of 32, scoring 21 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and making 4 assists, despite having a flu. On March 19, he helped his team to advance into the Sweet 16 stage with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, crushing the third-seeded Utah Utes 82–59. Moreover, he limited his direct opponent and one of the top prospects Jakob Pöltl to just 5 points and 4 rebounds. Following it, Sabonis was the most efficient post-up player left in the NCAA tournament. Despite his yet another monster performance of 19 points, 17 rebounds (7 offensive) and 5 blocks on March 25, his journey was stopped by the Syracuse Orange during the final match moments, losing 60–63. In his second NCAA season Sabonis almost doubled his every single statistical line comparing with the previous season. During the March Madness, his averages were 19.6 points, 14.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.3 blocks. On March 29, Sabonis was named to the CBS College Basketball All-America Third-team, along with Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Yogi Ferrell. Sabonis also was one of the finalists in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.
NBA draft preparation
In early April 2016, several U.S. media reports indicated that he would declare himself eligible for the 2016 NBA draft and would hire an agent, marking the end of his career at Gonzaga. On April 20, he signed with Jason Ranne and Greg Lawrence of Wasserman Media Group for representation in the NBA draft. Prior the draft, he rejected the offer to participate in NBA Draft Combine. Instead, he participated in four pre-draft workouts with the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2016–present)
Sabonis was selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2016 NBA draft. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Ersan İlyasova and Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka on draft night. He did not participate in the 2016 NBA Summer League in order to join the Lithuania men's national basketball team training camp. On 12 August 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Thunder. He made his debut for the Thunder in their season opener as their starting power forward on 26 October 2016, recording five points and four rebounds in 16 minutes as a starter in a 103–97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He became the first Thunder player to debut as a starting five member since Kevin Durant. On 7 November, he recorded season highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 97–85 win over the Miami Heat. On 23 December 2016, he set a new season-high with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting in a 117–112 win over the Boston Celtics. On 25 January 2017, he was named in the World Team for the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge. Six days later, he matched a season-high with 13 rebounds and had 13 points in a 108–94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. On 18 February 2017, he scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting in only 12 minutes to help Team World defeat Team USA 150–141 in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. Sabonis mostly transitioned to a bench role in early March, following the acquisition of Taj Gibson at the trade deadline, but even then he also began some games as a starting five member. In his debut season, he was a member of the starting five in 66 of 81 games. The Thunder qualified for the NBA Playoffs as the sixth seed, but they were eliminated 4–1 by the Houston Rockets in the first round; Sabonis played just six minutes in the series, as he managed court time in just two of the five games. Upon concluding his rookie season, Sabonis indicated that he would participate in the 2017 NBA Summer League in preparation for the EuroBasket 2017.
National team career
"I can say that another basketball star is growing. His father was uncommon and such human is one per 100 years. I was thinking that if Domantas will not interfere the national team, it will be good, but when he actually helps, I appreciate it very nicely."
Sabonis made his international debut with the Lithuania U-16 national team at the 2012 FIBA U-16 European Championship, averaging 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He grabbed a tournament-high 27 rebounds against Poland on July 27. In 2013, at 17 years of age, Domantas played for Lithuania U-18 team in 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. He averaged 14 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game and was tournament leader in rebounds per game. His best game was against Serbia when he scored 22 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Lithuania won the game 74-70 in OT. In 2014, coach Jonas Kazlauskas included Sabonis into preliminary 24 players list for main Lithuania men's national basketball team. In 2014, D.Sabonis played in the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship for the second time. This time he averaged 15.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He was once again one of the best tournament rebounders, this time outperformed only by Yankuba Sima, who had 12.1 rebounds per game. In 2015 Sabonis was once again included into the Lithuania men's national team extended candidates list. On July 9, 2015 he was invited to join the Lithuania men's national team training camp for the first time. On July 15, 2015 by participating in 2015 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, Sabonis achieved the youth tournaments rebounds record by grabbing 28 of them, by doing so he also led Lithuanians to victory versus Ukraine 70–57. Not surprisingly, he was the best tournament rebounder as in almost all previous youth competitions, with 13.2 per game this time. On July 29, 2015, Sabonis debuted in Lithuania men's national team during game versus Australia by scoring 4 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. By doing so, he immediately became the all-time youngest Lithuanian to debut in a game representing the primary men's national team. Previously, the record was held by the Lithuanian basketball star Jonas Valančiūnas, who did that when he was 19 years and 3 months old. Sabonis performed it being 19 years, 2 months and 26 days old. In total, he averaged 6 points and 5.9 rebounds during the preparation games phase, and was the team's second best rebounder after Jonas Valančiūnas. Following the solid performance at such age, Sabonis qualified into the Lithuania men's national basketball team and represented it at EuroBasket 2015, and won a silver medal during his debut year. He also was a member of the Lithuanian Olympic national team during the 2016 Summer Olympics, where he averaged 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
NBA career statistics
|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||Bold||Career high|