Dejan Vasiljevic would not let the approach to life in Miami distract from basketball


Dejan Vasiljevic avoided most of the distractions the city of Miami has to offer.

That doesn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate ‘The Magic City’ or the diverse and colorful culture that it encompasses. but what it means is that he understands what he is there for.

“They call it the party town, but I’m here to play college basketball,” Vasiljevic told

The 19-year-old will be calling the University of Miami home for the foreseeable future and adding a talented perimeter threat to a program that aims to return to the NCAA tournament.

From time to time Vasiljevic’s teammates take him to South Beach or Coral Gables, and the Melbourne native hopes to get used to it enough that he can get newbies to Miami hotspots if he becomes “veteran” in some cases. of the team is years.

“In the summer, on the weekends, I had to go down, some of my team-mates took me to see the beach a bit and just hung out,” said Vasiljevic. “But it’s very busy during the season. I’ve only been to South Beach four or five times. ”

“They call it the party town, but I’m here to play college basketball.” (Photo: Supplied

There’s a reason Vasiljevic wants to focus almost entirely on basketball: the intense learning curve for a security guard from Australia.

When the 6’3 security guard started practicing with his team, he was confronted with the increased “speed and tenacity” of the group.

“It’s the little things you can and can’t do,” said Vasiljevic.

“It was important to me to get stronger and faster because you play against sportier, larger bodies – especially at the ACC conference.”

At this point, Vasiljevic began to work on his body.

From waking up at 5:45 a.m. to training at 6:30 a.m. later in the morning in class before four hours of film and practice in the afternoon, Vasiljevic is as dedicated as ever. and it pays off.

He entered the campus at 96 kg and was able to reduce it to 89.9 kg thanks to Steve Felde, the director of Olympic Sports Performance, in preparation for the tough and fast guards in the ACC.

“This is probably the best shape I’ve been in for a while,” said Vasiljevic.

“I’m just trying to do this so I can play an entire game if I have to. I mean, I’m just trying to play my part.

“Circumcising my body only made me faster. To be able to protect those little quick point guards like Ja’quan Newton, he’s very quick and good of the ball, so just hold him in front of me.

“I’m also getting stronger to compete against the bigger guys like Senior Davon Reed or Anthony Lawrence and even play against a guy like Kamari Murphy in the Post. I just want to be able to guard multiple positions. ”

Vasiljevic’s out-of-court conversion has of course produced results on the pitch.

Dejan Vasiljevic is entering his freshman year in Miami. (Photo: Supplied

Already known as a strong goalscorer, the security guard has improved his ability to beat his man from dribbling and defending himself against faster guards. Surprisingly, his already elitist shooting has improved.

“The shooting has gotten better,” said Vasiljevic. “My shooting is on a new level. My shooting has exploded in the past few months. I just take a lot of pictures and try to be the last one to leave training every day. ”

Vasiljevic’s shooting was seen in a variety of settings, but most notably when he wore green and gold for several Australian junior teams.

Vasiljevic’s résumé is one of the top players in the 2014 FIBA ​​U17 World Championship and is longer than that of most 19-year-old athletes. His teammates therefore quickly greeted him with open arms.

“I just enjoy the people I am, man,” said Vasiljevic.

“My teammates made me feel welcome. Since they were from another country and so far from home, they greeted me right in their arms.

“You respect me as a player. We have a great bond on the pitch, but off the pitch is just amazing. We’re always together and hanging out. My teammates definitely made this transition the best for me. ”

As for his new team’s chances, Vasiljevic knows how difficult it is for a team of just two seniors to legitimately hold their own in the ACC, but he trusts his young team is up to the task.

Last season’s Miami Hurricanes reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament, and the hope is that the 2017 postseason will bring them even more luck.

“We are a very young team and we are talented,” said Vasiljevic.

“Larrañaga always stresses that we are young and talented, but we always have to work hard. He thinks we can have a really good run this year. ”

Olgun Uluc covers basketball for Fox Sports Australia. Twitter: @OlgunUluc

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