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  1. Always known for having bigs, Florida State landed another good one on Friday night as Balsa Koprivica picked the Seminoles. A native of Serbia, Koprivica has been in the United States for the entirety of his high school career, and after an up and down experience the past few years, the Seminoles stuck with him and ultimately landed his commitment. Along with Florida State, Baylor, Seton Hall, and several other schools were involved with Koprivica. Still Florida is the only home in the United States that he has known, and now Koprivica will stay there for college as well. About his decision to pick the Seminoles, Koprivica said, "I just felt comfortable with this decision. I just thought it was the best opportunity for me, and fir for all aspects." At roughly 7-feet tall with skill and mobility, Koprivica has all of the tools to be a very effective big man at the college level. He has good hands, can hit shots out to 15 feet, and also has the ability to rebound both in and out of his area. Koprivica has struggled at times with consistency, but Leonard Hamilton and his staff are convinced they are going to be able to get the best out him, and get him to his potential ceiling, which is significant. Now at Montverde Academy, Koprivica is finally healthy and looking forward to having a big senior season. He previously was at University School in Fort Lauderdale. This is the fourth commitment for the Seminoles in the class of 2019. Along with Koprivica, Florida State has another four-star prospect committed in wing Patrick Williams. Also junior college guard Nathanael Jack and three-star wing Zimife Nwokeji are committed to Florida State. https://247sports.com/college/basketball/recruiting/Article/Talented-four-star-center-Balsa-Koprivica-is-headed-to-Florida-State-123834645/
  2. Milan Mijovic's contribution to Marshall basketball can't be quantified By Doug Smock HUNTINGTON — Forget the numbers, small as they may be. Milan Mijovic’s contribution to the Marshall basketball program has been greater than most followers realize. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound native of Serbia is playing his final two regular-season games at Cam Henderson Center, as he nears the end of his college career. This week is historic, in a sense — he is the lone connection to the tough beginning of the Dan D’Antoni era. That means he has lived through a 21-loss season and a 20-win season, and perhaps another one. The Herd (19-8, 10-4 Conference USA) is one win away from the 20-win mark, which would give the program its first consecutive 20-game winners since 2009-12. As D’Antoni points out: “It’s not like the team went downhill. The team went uphill.” Mijovic has been a role player from the start, playing 209 minutes as a freshman, 52 as a sophomore and 179 as a senior. He has 136 points total in 84 career games, with 125 rebounds. He has started 18 games this season, but still averages only 14.4 minutes. But that doesn’t begin to measure his contribution over these four seasons. “I think he’s been a big part of the locker room,” D’Antoni said. “Probably his biggest strength was in the practice/locker room [atmosphere] improvement. Hard work, team-first type of concept, and he brought that whether he was playing or not. “Kids saw that even when he wasn’t playing, he was that same person. When he got a chance to play, that didn’t change. … Plus, academically, he has attended classes, he’s getting, I believe, a three-something grade-point average, [giving us] a good chance to set our program to where we want it to go — not just as a playing team, but as a college team that goes to school, goes to classes and participates in the community.” When Ajdin Penava came to the U.S. from Bosnia and visited the MU campus the next year, he saw how much of an ambassador Mijovic had become. And as Penava has developed into an inside-outside scoring threat and the nation’s leading shot-blocker, Mijovic’s impact takes on a different dimension. “My first year, him and Aleksa [Nikolic, since departed], they showed my around, they showed me how the system goes,” Penava said. “Other than my parents and the coaching staff, they’ve been the biggest factors of my transition.” Mijovic has the size the Herd hasn’t had much of in the D’Antoni era, but his skills were questionable, to put it diplomatically. Improvement has not come easily over the years. Take setting picks, for instance — when you’re picked by this guy, you’re picked. But Mijovic paid his own price at times. Let’s put it this way: Officials don’t often miss a 250-pound man setting a moving screen. “Anybody who ran into him when he was off-balance, may God bless you,” D’Antoni said with a hearty laugh. “I will say he learned, as the years went by, not to get a foul every damn time he sets a pick. He did learn to kind of set picks without knocking the hell out of somebody.” D’Antoni may needle Mijovic, as he does everybody else, but he admires the guy as much as anybody. Mijovic could have left the program, as do many who don’t see much playing time. D’Antoni could have decided not to renew Mijovic’s scholarship, which is permitted. Neither was about to happen. “It’s hard to pack in players who give 100 percent,” D’Antoni said. “On the floor, in the community. Somehow, those guys find a way to get minutes. I don’t care; they just find a way. In all my coaching, 45 years, people like him find a way to get some reward out of what they’re doing.” original article: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/sports/marshall_university/milan-mijovic-s-contribution-to-marshall-basketball-can-t-be/article_7fa1dcc5-8e5b-57da-8223-249b05623258.html
  3. The stands were mostly empty, having filtered out considerably after the preceding game featuring Whitnall and Waunakee at the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout in Mequon on Dec. 27. Greendale needed to manufacture its own energy for the battle with Port Washington, and Vlado Zrnic provided. His putback dunk served as a highlight when the Panthers scored a 57-48 victory. "I wouldn't call it 'LeBron James crazy' or anything like that, but it was cool," the Panthers senior said. "We knew everyone was going to clear out (of the gym). We had to figure out a way to bring our own energy, so we were hyping each other up in warmups and stuff, whatever we could to get going and flowing." The earlier game had featured Whitnall standout Tyler Herro, committed to the University of Kentucky, and undefeated Waunakee. Played between the holidays at Concordia University, the event usually features impartial crowds, and thus the energy isn't always optimal, anyway, so a 9 p.m. game in the aftermath of the night’s signature battle was a tough sell. It meant not many people took the opportunity to watch Zrnic, who averages better than 20 points and nine rebounds per game for Greendale (6-4). The 6-6 senior has emerged as one of the area’s top scoring threats after scoring 12 per game last year. “He came in over the summer to work on ball handling and shooting drills with some of our incoming freshmen,” Greendale coach Ryan Johnsen said. “I think that is very rare for a senior to do. “Also, after practice, most kids get up some shots, but Vlado will get out cones and be working hard by himself when nobody is watching, working on moves and game speed, every single time. Most kids don't have that own individual work ethic to push themselves like that.” Zrnic averages 20.3 points, 9.7 boards, 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s the team’s lone returning scorer among its top four last season, and he knew it. “I knew this year, I was going to have to be the leader and scorer,” he said. “A lot of teams are coming to double me, and then I’m looking for that guy on the wing to pass out for a three. It’s helpful when there’s more attention for me to distribute.” Johnsen said Zrnic has improved everything, from his 3-point shooting to his post moves. “He really has turned himself into an all-around player by his work ethic on the court, as well as dedication to weight room and speed workouts,” Johnsen said. “He not only loves to get better on the court but wants to get stronger and more explosive. It has paid off nicely so far for him.” Ties to Serbia Zrnic’s father and maternal grandparents were all born in Serbia; his father and mother met vacationing in Greece. Zrnic’s first language was Serbian before his family moved to Greendale when he was 5, and his family is deeply involved in the culture. He’s made four trips to Serbia, including once last summer to visit his aunt and grandparents. “We always go at least a week, and usually two or three weeks,” he said. “My grandparents live in an apartment in Belgrade … and they have a weekend house about an hour outside the city in a mountainous area, with a nice forest their and their own garden. Everything is fresh there.” Zrnic said Belgrade, the capital city surrounded by the Danube and Sava rivers, will see major new construction coming to the downtown area and riverfront by 2022. “There’s a lot of development happening there right now,” he said. He still understands Serbian well and can speak it when called upon. “It’s a huge community (in Milwaukee),” Zrnic said. “I wouldn’t say it’s as big as the Italian or Greek community, but it has a large presence. I can name 10 other people at my school alone who are Serbian, and a lot of them are my friends.” Basketball family Zrnic said even though he isn’t a member of the Johnsen family, he still took the loss personally last year when Greenfield, coached by then first-year coach Kyle Johnsen — Ryan’s younger brother — defeated Greendale. There wouldn’t be a repeat. Greendale handled Greenfield on Dec. 22, 66-43, and Zrnic was the only player on the floor in double figures, with 23. “I definitely think we’ve shown we can beat anybody or lose to anybody,” Zrnic said. “The Woodland West is such a tough conference to play in. We came so close to Eisenhower, within 2 points, and we came out on top against Pius, which has some super solid players.” In a division featuring Pewaukee, Eisenhower, New Berlin West and Wisconsin Lutheran, the Panthers could still be a fly in the ointment when the star-studded Division 2 postseason rolls around, even as powerhouses like Whitnall, Milwaukee Washington and Pewaukee are seen as local favorites for the same state berth in Division 2. The Panthers have done it before, making eye-opening runs to state in 2014 and 2015. It would be a perfect platform for Zrnic, who came out of the gate firing with 33 points in the first game of his junior season and duplicated the feat with 33 to open this year — although this time, he’s sustaining a high scoring average. “I’m talking to a couple D3 schools and starting to get some D2 interest, with a possible walk-on opportunity at the D1 level,” Zrnic said. “I’m really excited to see what happens.” https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/southwest/sports/2018/01/05/greendales-vlado-zrnic-averaging-close-double-double-has-unique-serbian-heritage-and-uncommon-work-e/1003930001/
  4. Basketball is Katarina Adamovic’s favorite sport. She doesn’t like to dribble up and down the court, though, preferring to rather play defense. The former Oklahoma State tennis phenom is spending one more year exhibiting her exuberant personality in front of the Cowgirl faithful. Instead of dazzling on the tennis court, though, Adamovic is moving to the hardwood and trading in her racquet for a pair of high-top shoes.Adamovic, a native of Cacak, Serbia, finished her tennis career in the spring, but as she is continuing work on her General Studies degree, Adamovic has eligibility in other sports. She knew which one she wanted to pick. “(Assistant) coach (Bill) Annan told me to join and it was kind of up in the air but then I thought, this is what I want,” Adamovic said. “I want this so let’s do it. I think that I have something, maybe it’s not the game, but something I can contribute and help the girls in a way and I’m actually excited to have one more year in the orange and black honestly.” Annan was on board as was coach Jim Littell, who decided to reward Adamovic with a scholarship for all her service to the school so far and also to help her finish her degree. “She has represented herself, the tennis program and her family in a very positive fashion here at Oklahoma State,” Littell said. “You like to reward those type of young ladies and those are the type of people who you want in your program on a daily basis.” Adamovic is currently an observer at the Cowgirls’ practices, but she is well-versed in many of the intricacies of the sport. As a girl, she played both tennis and basketball, before starting to solely play tennis when she was 12. It wasn’t shooting hoops or playing H-O-R-S-E either; she played pickup games with her cousin, Mihailo Jovicic, who is one of the hottest prospects in EuroLeague. Jovicic, a point guard for Mega Bemax in Serbia, a club that has produced such NBA players as Nikola Jokic and Boban Marjanovic, was the first person Adamovic told about her new venture. “He was super excited and said he wished he could come to one of the games,” Adamovic said. “I told him that I would let him know everything. He said he would give me a few tips so I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, I’m open for any advice. I need it.’” Littell, who knows it will take a while for Adamovic to get up to the speed of the Division I level, is excited for her to enjoy playing another season as well as the competitive nature she brings to the locker room. “I have watched her play and she is very intense, very demanding of herself and that’s evident every time that you watch her play and she likes to win,” Littell said. “You want to surround yourself and your program with people of that attitude.” Adamovic, a former All-American, will have to adjust to being one of the shortest players on the Cowgirls’ squad, standing at 5-foot-8. Although she loves defense – preferring it on the tennis court and holding the same opinion on the hardwood – she will try to hit a 3-pointer if she is given the chance. Littell said he appreciates how realistic Adamovic is and how humble she comes into practice every day. On a team that has six new players, Littell said Adamovic has done a good job of helping the chemistry develop. “She has fit in very well with our players,” Littell said. “She has always got a smile on her face and she has a very optimistic view on everything that she is doing from tennis to the classroom to basketball and that positive attitude is very infectious. ... She is very observant, but it is a different game than she is accustomed to and she is just trying to figure a lot of that out. I will try to implement her into some of the things we’re doing as the season pregresses.” Adamovic has not forgotten about her teammates back at the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center, playing in the Stillwater Pro Tennis Classic in September and keeping up with how Cowgirl tennis is doing. She’s hoping they will come see her at Gallagher-Iba Arena this winter and see her take on this new challenge – playing a game she has always loved. “Every sport you need to play for people in the same way” Adamovic said. “This is a bigger crowd than we had in tennis and I think it is going to be a great experience. ... It’s hard, it’s so busy for me but this is what I wanted and I’m really excited to see how I’m going to deal with everything and the challenges of a new team and new sport, but so far so good.” Source: http://www.stwnewspress.com/sports/osu_sports/changing-courts/article_6d18f4c0-4f45-5539-917a-b89bd4d302b4.html
  5. Filip Petrusev, a 6-11 big man from Serbia who is considered one of the top young prospects in European basketball, has committed to play for Gonzaga, he told ESPN on Sunday. "They are a big-time basketball school with great tradition, especially with international big men," Petrusev told ESPN. "They develop players very well and make the NCAA tournament every year." Petrusev picked Gonzaga over scholarship offers from a number of Power 5 programs, including Kansas, Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Creighton, Illinois, Indiana, Stanford and Texas Tech. He played a key role in helping Serbia win the U18 European Championship this summer, averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes en route to being named the fourth-best NBA prospect at the U18s. Petrusev attended the NBA Basketball Without Borders Camp in Tel Aviv, and he recently enrolled at Montverde Academy in Florida, where he will play alongside R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 recruit in the 2018 ESPN 100. At 225 pounds, Petrusev is a highly skilled and versatile big man who is capable of playing either power forward or center. He is an excellent shooter, passer and ball handler who showed impressive potential defensively with the Serbian national team this summer. Spearheaded by assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga has developed a rich history with recruiting international players, sending big men such as Ronny Turiaf (France), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), Kelly Olynyk (Canada), Robert Sacre (Canada) and Elias Harris (Germany) to the NBA. "It's one of the reasons I like Gonzaga so much," Petrusev told ESPN. "It is a privilege, and also gives me motivation to follow their steps and maybe end up like them one day. I see myself fitting perfectly in their system. It reminds me a lot of Europe, always with two big guys, allowing them to play both inside and outside, which will allow me to reach my full potential." The Bulldogs are in need of a big man capable of making a major impact next season, as they will be losing senior power forward Johnathan Williams, the anchor of their defense. Gonzaga is coming off its best season in program history, going 37-2 and losing to North Carolina in NCAA tournament championship game. source: http://www.espn.com/college-sports/recruiting/basketball/mens/story/_/id/21111885/serbian-big-man-filip-petrusev-commits-gonzaga-bulldogs
  6. Southeast Missouri forward Milos Vranes is back in Cape Girardeau after an unforgettable experience this past summer. Vranes, a senior at Southeast, proudly represented his country as a member of the Serbian National Basketball Team in the 2017 World University Games. A native of Belgrade, Vranes first tried out for his native team at a camp in Denver, Colorado back in May. He made the final cut of 12 players, who later competed at the World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan from Aug. 20-29. Serbia finished fourth in the World behind Lithuania, the United States and Latvia. Vranes’ team played a total of 17 games in a month with eight at the World University Games. “We were travelling a lot,” recalled Vranes. “We changed six airplanes, flew five different airlines and rode on 15 buses just travelling from place to place. It was amazing.” Serbia completed the World University Games with a 5-3 record and advanced to the semifinals where it fell to the United States, 93-61. Serbia came just one win shy of a medal when it lost to Latvia, 81-74, in the consolation game. Statistically, Vranes averaged 3.4 points and 2.9 rebounds, while shooting 42.9 percent from the field in seven contests at the World University Games. “It was an unbelievable experience,” Vranes said. “Playing for the country which is second in the World, second in Europe and second in the Olympics is a huge thing. I was working out the whole summer and was fortunate to earn one of the final roster spots after 25 players initially tried out for the team.” Vranes played two tournaments in China leading up to the World University Games main event. He was one of four United States college players on the Serbian National Team along with Idaho State’s Novak Topalovic, Marshall’s Aleksa Nikolic and American University’s Andrija Matic. “Now that it’s over it still hasn’t registered with me how much this team accomplished,” Vranes said. “It was so special just to be there and I dedicated every second of my summer to this. I keep thinking how amazing it was to finish fourth in the World.” Outside of playing with members of his own team, Vranes had the opportunity to meet several Serbian greats, including Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings), Nemanja Bjelica (Minnesota Timberwolves), Milos Teodosic (Los Angeles Clippers) and Aleksandar Djordjevic (Serbia Head Coach). “It was unbelievable to guard [Bogdan] Bogdanovic for two quarters,” commented Vranes. “I’ll never forget it.” One more thing Vranes enjoyed was spending time with his family as his parents were able to watch him play for the first time in three years. “I am delighted that Milos made the Serbian National Team,” said Southeast head coach Rick Ray. “I could just feel the pride and enthusiasm coming through the phone when Milos informed me of the great news. This is a tremendous honor for Milos as he was able to play against top-notch competition. Being on the Serbian National Team did nothing but help him and our team improve from his experience.” Vranes averaged 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 31 contests for the Redhawks last season. Southeast, which held its first practice Friday, tips off its 2017-18 season at home against Missouri Baptist on Nov. 10. Original article: http://news.semo.edu/vranes-reflects-on-serbian-national-team-experience/
  7. East Tennessee State University men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes and his staff announced Tuesday that Mladen Armus (Belgrade, Serbia) has signed his national letter of intent to join the Buccaneer program. Armus played for head coach Charles Baker at Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he averaged 16.3 points and 12.8 rebounds, while shooting 60 percent from the field and 73 percent at the free throw line. The 6-foot-10 forward led Southwest Christian Academy to a 36-3 record en route to claiming the NACA National Championship. Armus earned NACA first team All-American honors and was also named MVP of the NACA National Tournament. During his time in Serbia, Armus played for the KK Paritzan Junior Team. In 2014, Armus helped guide Serbia to a Bronze medal in the U17 World Championship in Dubai, while he has been invited to play in the U20 European Championship this summer. Coach Forbes says Armus has a bright future and his international experience makes him college ready as soon as he arrives on campus. “Mladen is a tremendous young man. He has great size and strength, and he possesses an intense desire to work hard and succeed,” said Forbes. “His experience this past year at Southwest Christian Academy, along with his vast amount of international experience, allows Mladen to be college ready when he steps on campus. He has a very bright future. “Charles Baker has 20-plus years of Division I experience. He’s done an unbelievable job in a short amount of time turning SW Christian Academy into a nationally recognized program. Mladen received outstanding coaching this year from Coach Baker, Ron Crawford, and Marco Cole – who I coached at Louisiana Tech.” Armus felt right at home during his visit to ETSU and like the family environment that Coach Forbes and his staff has created within the program. “I felt right at home during my visit to ETSU,” said Armus. “I fell in love with the campus, the high-quality of academic studies that are offered and the organized student life. Coach Forbes has instilled a family atmosphere within the program, and that left a very strong impression on me, as did the entire coaching staff.” Read the rest of the article here - http://www.wcyb.com/sports/etsu-signs-610-big-man-from-serbia/501712462
  8. George Bugarinovic, a 2015 graduate of Johns Hopkins, has been awarded the 2017 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship by the NCAA. He is the first student-athlete from Johns Hopkins and the Centennial Conference to earn the prestigious award. Established in 1988, the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program each year awards one male and one female recipient a $24,000 grant, which can be renewed for a second year. Recipients are recognized as combining the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for their achievements and to be future leaders in their chosen field of career service. Bugarinovic is just the fifth men's basketball player and first since 2001 to receive the award. He is also just the 14th Division III student-athlete to receive the award. Bugarinovic, who is currently in his first year of medical school at Harvard University, previously earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2015. While at Hopkins, he was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American as well as the 2015 Jostens Trophy winner, which recognizes outstanding student-athletes in NCAA Division III basketball for excellence in the classroom, on the playing court, and in the community. Bugarinovic earned a bachelor's degree in public health and natural sciences with a 3.87 cumulative GPA. Bugarinovic hopes to incorporate a global health component into the field of medicine that he ultimately pursues. Along those lines, he is helping to establish a hospital shadowing exchange program for U.S. undergraduate students in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia through the Atlantis Project. He hopes to continue to work towards sustainable support initiatives in Serbia and other countries of need in the future. A four-time All-Centennial Conference selection and two-time CC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Bugarinovic was named a Second Team All-Mid-Atlantic pick by both the NABC and D3hoops.com in 2015. As a senior, he led Hopkins to a 25-5 overall record, including a 16-2 mark in the CC, and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16. He led the team with 7.4 rebounds and ranked second with 13.6 points per contest on 54.5 percent shooting in 2014-15. He also led the team in steals (43) and ranked third in assists (58) and blocks (26). For his career, Bugarinovic averaged 12.1 points and reached double figures 77 times (in 110 games). He finished his career with 1,331 points and he ranks in the top five in school history in points, field goals (516), rebounds (751) and steals (124) and ranks in the top 10 in nine other categories. Off the court, Bugarinovic was just as impressive during his time at Johns Hopkins. In 2013, he was selected for one of the competitive summer research internships at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. During his internship, he investigated the Tcof1, Polr1c, and Polr1d genes and their accompanying proteins on the cellular and genetic basis of Treacher Collins syndrome. He has also completed internships at the molecular biology pathology department at the University of Kansas and the Jackson County Health Department. As a freshman, Bugarinovic worked as a lab assistant in the otolaryngology lab at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In his spare time, Bugarinovic volunteered with the Maryland School for the Blind, where he organized and implemented weekly arts and crafts projects for the students with varying degrees of blindness and neurodegenerative diseases. He was also involved with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, where he engaged in recreational activities with children and young adults with developmental or physical disabilities. In addition, Bugarinovic volunteered with Optimal Translation and Transportation Services in Kansas City, Kansas serving as a Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian translator. https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/05/26/bugarinovic-awarded-ncaa-walter-byers-scholarship/