With all the changes that the ACU basketball team has undergone this offseason, it is not uncommon to see unfamiliar names and faces. What is uncommon, however, is having a 6-foot-9 forward from Serbia now playing as a Wildcat. Junior forward Aleksander Milosavljevic was signed to play basketball for ACU after transferring from Georgia Perimeter College.
“Compared to my junior college playing time, ACU has been amazing,” Milosavljevic said. “It’s a great group of coaches, all the players are trying to buy into what we have to do and everything has been great. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re getting there.”
Growing up in the small town of Svilajna, Serbia, Milosavljevic was introduced to basketball when he was 10 years old as a way to stay in shape and active. He had no idea that he would grow to be the size he is today.
“I played for fun when I was little,” Milosavljevic said. “I also played football. I always liked playing basketball the most. I guess it’s good I’m tall because before I was big, I was too slow as a small guy who played guard.”
Milosavljevic played in high school and decided to come to America to continue to play basketball. But playing basketball has not been the most important thing to him.
“I wanted to be able to play basketball, but also earn a degree and graduate,” Milosavljevic said. “In my country, you can’t go to school and play basketball at the same time. You have to choose one or the other. So, I decided to come to America so I could do both.”
Milosavljevic said the most difficult transition in coming to America was the social aspect. He also confessed the way basketball is played overseas varies greatly with the style of American basketball.
“Everyone here is faster, stronger and more athletic,” Milosavljevic said. “The game itself is just faster than back home. It was a difficult adjustment. It was something that I had to work hard at and something that I’m still working with. But I feel that I am getting closer and closer to where I want to be.”
Milosavljevic’s plan is to earn his degree and then go back home to Serbia to play ball. While he is here, head coach Joe Golding and the rest of the ACU basketball team will look to take full advantage of all the skills and assets he can provide for the team.
“We’re going to look to use him primarily as a rebounding and defensive player,” Golding said. “Aleks is a great player who can battle down low, get you rebounds, set hard picks and even float out to the perimeter and knock down a shot.”
The process of getting Milosavljevic on the same page has gone smoothly, Golding said. He seems willing to work hard and do whatever is needed to make the team stronger.
“He’s smart, hardworking and never complains,” Golding said. “I never have to worry about him coming into my office needing special treatment. He’s a very mature young man who I’m glad chose to be a part of this program.”
Around the team, Milosavljevic has earned the nickname “the Serb” around the team because of his background and how he plays the game. His tough play and hard work ethic is something the Wildcats will need in the upcoming season.
“I feel that my time spent at Georgia helped me a lot and I want to bring what I learned from there to ACU,” Milosavljevic said. “I’m excited to be here and I want to do whatever I can to win games.”