Speaking with Timothe Luwawu for the first time this afternoon, it was outside the norm seeing him without the pink-and-green of Mega Leks draped all over his body. But despite the new country and and the new uniform he'll wear in Philadelphia, Luwawu seemed confident in his ability to carry lessons from Serbia to Philly.
Luwawu was adamant that the development culture surrounding Mega Leks was a big part of why he committed his services to the club.
"That helped me to choose Mega," he said of their commitment to building up young players. "There's great coaching over there. It's a lot of people around you [any] time if you want to practice, you can practice. In Europe, it's not [all the] time like that. You can ask to go in the gym, but they can say no because it's too expensive for the lights. There it wasn't that kind of thing, you just ask for a workout and someone is here, two people are here and it's nice."
It's easy to forget that overseas players come from areas of the world where basketball sometimes gets the shaft in favor of other sports and events; the idea that a highly-touted prospect like Luwawu could ever lack access to facilities to practice in is alien to American observers. Thankfully, he'll likely take up residence in the Philadelphia area soon enough, leaving those concerns in the past.
Unlike many young players in Europe, Luwawu was given an opportunity to play heavy minutes in the Adriatic League, a distinction that wasn't lost on the young Frenchman. He spoke glowingly of Mega Leks' willingness to let young players stretch their wings.
"That helped me a lot," he said. "To grow up in my head, to be focused every time 100 percent, to take some risks sometimes, but to, what I can say, have some balls. I want to be the key of the game sometimes, so that helped me to grow up and I really think that I'm ready for the NBA."
Luwawu will likely take a backseat to Ben Simmons in the Sixers hierarchy -- as will nearly everyone else -- but he appears ready and willing to assert his game and play within a team structure as appropriate.
The million-dollar question still remains: What does Luwawu think of the neon jersey he rocked for Mega Leks?
"At the beginning it was terrible," he said. "I couldn't watch my teammates. It was terrible. At the end you start to like it, I think everybody liked it, everyone wanted to buy our jerseys because it was unique and crazy, so I just love the jersey at the end."
The pink-and-green isn't for everyone, but Luwawu's blend of athleticism and shooting on the wing is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for anyone tuning into the up-and-coming Sixers this season. Having promised that shooting off the dribble is on his list of things to work on this summer, Luwawu comes off as focused and prepared to take the next step in his evolution as a basketball player.