Andrej Jakimovski showcases skills in FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers

Jakimovski scores 19 vs Ukraine, expands basketball skills



WSU forward Andrej Jakimovski (23) jumps up for a layup during a college basketball game against the University of Southern California at Beasley Coliseum, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball star forward Andrej Jakimovski showcased his skills in the International Basketball Federation World Cup Qualifier as he led his team scoring 19 points and nine rebounds.

Despite the close loss against Ukraine, he scored tough baskets to help build momentum for the North Macedonia national team. With just over two minutes left in the second quarter, North Macedonia was down by 17, looking to get a comeback. When his team needed him the most, Jakimovski shot a corner three on a defender.

Late in the third with the team down by eight he had the window to score a reverse right hand layup as he was left wide open. Before the layup, there was good ball movement with the assist dished out by Bojan Krstevski.

Early on in the fourth, one of North Macedonia’s players was blocked and it seemed that Ukraine was going to get an easy layup to stretch the lead back to eight, but Jakimovski had an impressive block that got the bench fired up.

Through the FIBA Qualifiers, Jakimovski has been on a roll for the team, averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game through two games against Spain and Ukraine.

In the matchup against Spain, he led the team in points scored with 14 despite Spain’s difficult defense. The Spain team was hard and aggressive, but when Jakimovski had the ball, he did not back down.

Midway through the fourth North Macedonia was losing by 32, not having scored a bucket since the end of the third quarter. The defense played by Spain caused trouble as the ball was batted away, but Jakimovski took the ball right back and managed to score on a left hand finish.

Late in the fourth, he had a drive to the basket from the corner, beating his defender to add up the tally. The FIBA Qualifiers have only helped Jakimovski as he is driving more to the basket and becoming an efficient scorer from all areas on the court.

In the 2021-22 season, Jakimovski averaged 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game. He was a reliable starter and was an accurate three point shooter sinking over 38% from beyond the arc.

The skills that he is polishing each game will help the Cougars when he is back in Beasley.