Pecherov to gain experience in Europe

Updated: September 27, 2006, 12:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Oleksiy Pecherov, whom the Wizards drafted 18th, will play in Europe this year, Washington president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said Tuesday.

"At this time we really felt like it was very important for him to play and get significant playing time," Grunfeld said. "The best option we have is to leave him over there for now to get the experience, get a little big bigger and a little bit stronger. We're really high on him and we think he has real potential down the road. But let's not forget that he's only 20 years old."

The 6-foot-11 Ukranian is reed-thin at 210 pounds. He will play with BC Kyiv of the Ukrainian Superleague after playing in Paris last season where, he ranked third on Paris Basket Racing of the French League in scoring (11.2) and rebounding (6.3) in 23 games.

As a member of the Ukrainian National Team, Pecherov participated in the 2005 European Championships, averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in three games.

An accurate shooter who can get it done on the baseline and out to 20 feet at the top, Pecherov may eventually increase his range to the NBA 3-point line. He can score a few baskets around the hoop, but his athletic limitations mean his offensive contributions will come primarily on the perimeter.

Pecherov has a weak upper body and will need weight training before he can match up well with most NBA post players. He is not a super athlete but makes the most of his size and plays the game with smarts.

The free agent signing of forward Darius Songaila to a five-year, $23 million dollar deal this summer contributed to Pecherov's return to Europe.

"We're pretty loaded at that position right now. It would be hard for a 20-year-old to break into the lineup," Grunfeld said.

SportsTicker contributed to this report.