Growth takes a student athlete from good to great.
In basketball, five players are on the court to represent the team at any given time. To be one of those five on the McMaster Men’s Basketball Team, you need to earn it. It comes with time, experience and talent. Every player that checks in and laces up for play on the hardwood is on the court for a reason. It might be the skill they showed in practice or their leadership as veterans.
While the five are on the court, the remaining players on the bench are just as important. In addition to contributing when called upon, these bench players are a network of support and help motivate the players on the court.
A team this big in numbers and depth is not missing support or motivation. The bench gets loud when big plays are made and clap it out even when a free throw is missed.
Still, the rotation fans notice at games are usually eight players. This isn’t always the case as Head Coach Amos Connolly can decide to play some of the younger guys for experience.
Fourth-year Oakville native Lazar Kojovic was a part of that rotation this year, but it did not always come easy.
“It’s mostly just hard work,” said Kojovic.
Playing basketball since the age of 11, Kojovic was given the opportunity to represent McMaster Basketball when he was one of seven first year players to show loyalty to the Maroon and Grey in 2012. McMaster became home for Kojovic because of the strong academics and the great athletics. Kojovic, an Engineering Physics student, has found a balance between books and ball.
This season opened up a spot for Kojovic to showcase his talent and he made sure to not take that chance for granted. His first three years at McMaster were quiet, but this year was a little different.
“This year, I got a bit lucky with some open shots,” said Kojovic about working his way up the bench and onto the court.
Hard work and time has gotten Kojovic to where he is today. A strong work ethic speaks volumes to a player’s potential for greatness.
Whether it is producing in a multitude of ways both offensively or defensively on the court or supporting his teammates by being a vocal presence on the bench, Kojovic has had a successful season and has put skeptics and believers on notice.
Rounding off his fourth year with the program, Kojovic’s greatest Marauder memory was when the team made an appearance in the CIS Final Eight in his second year.
A big reason why Kojovic loves the game is because of his father who also played basketball growing up.
“When I was younger, I would go to his pick-up games every Sunday and watch him score in the most unusual and unique ways. I would always try and practice his moves. My dad pushed me,” said Kojovic of his basketball inspiration.
Fans can expect to see more leadership from Kojovic who will finish off his five years of eligibility with the program next year. His time away from the competitive stage this year will be used to polish his ball handling skills and ability to be more open on the court, in order to prepare for another shot at championships.