Tops Add Serbian Guard to 2008-09 Freshman Class

By: James Brandenburg Email
By: James Brandenburg Email

As a Western Kentucky University men's assistant basketball coach, Ken McDonald saw Dennis Felton have success recruiting players on an international stage.

Now McDonald hopes for some of the same in his head coaching tenure on the Hill.

Thursday, McDonald announced the signing of 6-foot-5 guard Dejan Cvoro from Serbia. Cvoro will enter WKU as a freshman.

"Dejan is a very good player," said McDonald. "(He) comes in with a great amount of experience for a young player - plays on a really good club team (Partizan II) in Serbia, which is really good basketball. (He played in a) high level basketball league, high level club teams and has played against men for the latter part of his life."

Cvoro was a member of Serbia's FIBA 2007 U18 European Champions, scoring 13 points in two appearances in the tournament.

McDonald described Cvoro as a combo guard with the ability to score or distribute offensively. He said Cvoro's talent would allow him to compete for playing time immediately, but that Cvoro would have a period of adjustment from rules in FIBA play as opposed to American basketball - especially differences in ball-handling rules.

And there's a little matter of the different temperament between European players and what's expected in the United States.

"Over there, they yell at each other like it's nothing," McDonald explained. "As teammates and as coaches. I don't want him yelling at me - that's not going to happen. So some of those things go on and you have to adjust."

McDonald has experience with international players playing at WKU. Filip Videnov and Todor Pandov both came to Bowling Green from Bulgaria in fall 1999 (though both had a year in American prep school first) and the late Raimonds Jumikis came directly from Latvia to WKU in fall 2000. He says the cultural adjustment period for a player like Cvoro can vary.

"Some love it and adjust to school and their teammates right away. Some are homesick and some are in the middle," McDonald said. "(There's a) little bit of shock factor early, but the maturity level he has is important to the team and it's important to him. I think he's going to be fine."

McDonald said Cvoro took an official visit to WKU before signing with the Hilltoppers and that Cvoro would arrive on campus shortly before the fall semester begins August 25th.


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