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Hard work pays off for Dejan Kravic

Miodrag Rakic

The third US president Thomas Jefferson once said that "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude". The first part of this famous sentence is fully appropriate to describe Dejan Kravic ('90), the current CIS best post player. His family moved to Canada (London, Ontario) from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 when he was a 4 year old kid. Coming from the Dinaric Alps known for its density of very tall people, Dejan destiny was obviously to play basketball.(editor's note: Dinaric Alps is a mountain chain spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia where, according to a study made in 2005, 28% of adolescents measure 190 cm or more in height, and the average height of 185,6 cm is the tallest in Europe).
Being among the tallest teens of the Westminster Secondary School, Dejan logically joined the high school team and fell in love with basketball and started his improvement. At the start of his high school junior year, Dejan was a thin small forward. Then he grew up from 6'6" to 6'9" very quickly, which explains how he now has some unique ball-handling and passing skills and the ability to shoot from the outside despite a quite strange shooting mechanics. When he started to play closer to the rim, these outside skills helped him a lot, but his lack of weight really hurt him. Very quickly, Dejan understood he needed to add weight and increase his muscle mass. So he decided to build a good basketball body in order to be more efficient on the court. Since then, during every summer holiday, he works out an hour and a half per day (including warms-up and cool-down), 6 times a week, focusing on developing size, explosiveness and quickness, varying his program to fulfill each of those needs. Whilst during the regular seasons, he had team workouts twice a week mainly focusing on the muscle groups needed in basketball such as his lower body and core.
To measure his physical evolution and basketball progress, I made a little summary of his last three seasons.

2008/2009: Westminster Secondary HS (senior)
Dejan was the MVP of his high school team three years in a row and in his final year, he scored 35 points in only 15 minutes at the London All-Star game. His high school also finished 2nd at AA OFSAA (he was leading scorer in that tournament) and Dejan was named to the All-Ontario second team in the class of 2009. He played in a few AAU tournaments. The most notable ones were the Pan-Am Tournament at Niagara Falls, NY (where his London Gold Medal team finished second) and an AAU Tournament in Buffalo where his team placed first. After watching him at the All Canada Prospect Camp in Toronto and in a workout in London, Cornell (NCAA div1), as well as a couple other division 1 schools, showed interest to recruit him. But at the time his grades weren't  high enough for that Ivy League college. But Dejan's huge upside and versatility hasn't gone unnoticed by local college coaches and he was targeted by most of Canadian Universities (Western, McMaster, Windsor, UBC, Laurier, etc) and he finally committed to York University.

2009/2010: York CIS (freshman)
Dejan didn't disappoint as a heralded big man. He ended up the season being the runner up for Rookie of the Year in the OUA East, was named York Male Athlete Rookie of the Year and earned an invitation to workout with the Canadian National Development Team coached by Leo Rautins. He was also selected to play in the All-Star Charity Shootout last summer, which is for the top Canadian ballers playing in Canada or the U.S., but he couldn't play in that due to a minor injury.
2010/2011: York CIS (sophomore)
Dejan was having a very good year but then unfortunately got injured during the final stretch of the season and couldn't play in the final five games as well as the play-offs. As a result, he ended up being a second team All-Star and was up there in Ontario in statistics in both blocks (1st) and rebounds (2nd) as well as points (15th). He is also on Canada candidates list for the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade & for Pan-Am Games, he got invited back again to workout with the Canadian Development Team. And recently, Bosnian basketball Association started showing interests on Mostar native Dejan Kravic who is currently 43rd on Eurohopes 1990 ranking. 

Meanwhile, the current 6'11" Dejan Kravic is still working, going to the gym every morning at 7am to work on his jump shot mechanics and consistency. With work and repetitions, he really believes his shot can be another advantage and weapon in his offensive arsenal.
Miodrag Rakic, the author, writes this blog


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