HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The Marshall men’s basketball team, shooting around the day after a nail biting loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers; the final, 64 to 60.
Now most of these players are from the Tri-state area, or a state close by. But one center had to travel almost 17 hours to play in the Cam.
Goran Miladinovic put up eight points in Wednesday night’s game. Only a freshman, but standing seven feet tall, this big is already making an impact.
“I just hope that we’ll get to our maximum potential because we aren’t there yet,” says Miladinovic.
Miladinovic’s love for the game isn’t anything new; “I was always tall and I just loved the game,” he said. “I started really young, when I was like 7.”
Growing up in Montenegro, a small country in eastern Europe, Miladinovic was faced with a tough decision: stay home and sign a professional contract at a young age, or come to the U.S., still play basketball, and earn a college education. He chose the later.
“It’s really hard to come to the United States when you’re from that small of a country,” says Miladinovic.
Learning a new language, a new culture, and a new way to play the game.
“It’s difficult for them because everything is new,” says Coach Scott Rigot, who recruited Miladinovic. “Everything is completely different from what they were used to, so it’s a bit of a shock what they go through.”
Committing to a school an ocean away from his family; and although Miladinovic misses them, he knows he made the right decision.
“All the players, coaching staff, everyone is so nice to us,” he says. “And we have by far the most fans coming to watch our games, so it’s really nice to be here.”
‘The Herd’ will face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers again Saturday.
Miladinovic will, again, be standing at center; while his team works to come out with the victory this time.