PHOENIX — Prior to Wednesday’s regular season opener against the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns rookie coach Igor Kokoskov took time to heap some praise on Mavs rookie Luka Doncic.

After all, Doncic and Kokoskov go way back. Kokoskov was the coach of the Slovenian national team that won the EuroBasket 2017 last year – the same national team which Doncic starred on.

So, before Doncic was preparing to make his NBA debut against the Suns, Kokoskov sent out some pleasant greetings.

“I’m happy for Luka,” Kokoskov said. “We had a pretty good time working together, so when it comes to Luka it’s very emotional because great memories come back.

“I never had a doubt that he’s an NBA player, never had a doubt that he’s going to have a decent career. I wish him nothing but the best.”

Donic, 19, was the third player chosen in this past June’s NBA Draft and is known for captivating fans with his unique passing and ball handling skills. Asked what makes Doncic so special, Kokoskov said: “His size and his ability to pass.

“I think that’s the hardest part of teaching the game of basketball is the passing. Not the technique of the passing, but when it comes to the playmaking. Being a good passer and being a good playmaker requires an understanding of the game and reading the situation on the court. That’s basketball IQ.”

“He’s a very, very smart player because he can read the situation well, he’s unselfish and he makes other people better,” Kokoskov said. “At the age he is, his game is mature.”

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