Westermann Experiencing A Brave New World With Partizan Belgrade

When Leo Westermann signed a three-year deal in Serbia with Partizan Belgrade last July, he probably didn't realize this season would include a game halted by rioting fans and an arena filled with smoke bombs. It's just another day at the office for this 20-year old French point guard who is the current focus of a brief documentary about his first season in Serbia.

Here's what we know about Leo Westermann.

The year Westermann was born -- 1992 in Haguenau, France -- the Golden State Warriors drafted Predrag Danilovic with the 43rd overall pick in the NBA Draft after the shooting guard starred for the former Yugoslavia's KK Partizan, capturing a Yugoslavian Champion (‘92), Yugoslav Cup winner (‘92) and a Euroleague Championship ('92) in that year alone. Twenty years later, Westermann now directs Partizan's backcourt where the 6-foot-6 point guard is nearing his first season playing for Danilovic, the organizations team president.

Small world.

It's also a world where Westermann remains one of the Top 5 European prospects on mock draft boards when evaluating international players.

After playing two seasons with ASVEL Basket in the French Pro-A League and competing in Eurocup, Westermann made his way to the renowned Nike Hoop Summit as a member of the World Team before parlaying his crossover and jumpshot into a three-year deal with Partizan. But before you start to assume this kid has it set and is playing free of pressure, think again.

In Westermann's case, seeing truly is believing.

A 21:18 documentary entitled "L' Eclaireur" (The Scout) is currently being featured on the French website, Canal Plus, and provides a glimpse into Westermann's basketball reality in Serbia. The video not only features the point guard and Partizan taking a tough one-point loss to Regal FC Barcelona, but scenes showing armed military policeman dotting the arena, signs preventing fans from carrying guns, alcoholic beverages and dynamite sticks, and also an in-game riot where the game between Partizan and Etoile Rouge was postponed after an explosion and tear gas filled the arena.

Last year at this time, the debate centered around if Evan Fournier could make the jump from Pro-A France with Poiters to the NBA. The Denver Nuggets eventually made the 6-foot-6 shooting guard the 20th overall selection and it will take time to really understand what Denver has to work with here in the 20-year old. The Fournier project is underway: 4.1 points in 8.9 points per game, while shooting 46% from the field and 42% from 3-point.

It's hard to have the same discussion at this juncture with Westermann knowing his contract status with Partizan, unless some NBA team feels in a gambling mood to secure a developing point guard still learning his way playing in three leagues this season (Euroleague, Adriatic League, Serbia). With Westermann playing a combined 11 games between Euroleague and Serbia, his numbers in the Adriatic League take precedence:

6.7 points, 2.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 2.3 turnovers, 1 steal, 3 personal fouls, 66.7% FT, 24.6% 3-pt., 45.7% FG, 22.4 minutes per game in 26 games.

Yet, Westermann's story here goes beyond the numbers as the documentary indicates.

We are not only talking about adjusting to a new organization, brand of basketball and system, but also the other aspects of life in regards to the culture in the Balkans and being assisted by a translator at practice and during games.

All of this for a 20-year old is an impressive feat in its own right.

The soaring maturity level is merely one more thing we are learning about Leo Westermann.

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