Any college student will tell you that freshman year is the hardest. From getting acclimated – to time management – to living on your own away from home. Imagine going to college in another country and playing a sport there as well. Getting used to the new language, customs, and culture would be extremely difficult.
However, that is the case for sophomore basketball center Nebojsa Stanojevic for the Griffins basketball team. Nebojsa, better known as Neb, is from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
Serbia is located at the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe, covering the central Balkans. Neb, who has played basketball since 2001, was discovered by a former SHU basketball player and referenced him to head coach Tony Morocco. Coach Morocco has been the first and only head men’s basketball coach since 2002 for the Griffins.
“My biggest factor in choosing to attend Seton Hill University was the opportunity to play basketball and get a good educational background at the same time,” said Neb.
Neb is majoring in sociology and has several minors in history, genocides and holocaust, political science, philosophy and wants to obtain one in international studies as well. He hopes to stay in America upon graduation from Seton Hill University and attain a MBA in sociology, attain his PhD in sociology and from there find a job either here or in Serbia.
Language barriers can affect anyone from a foreign country; however playing a sport in another country can pose a significant barrier in game performance. Neb has been studying English for 16 years and says that he has pretty much mastered English and that the language
barrier does not affect his performance at all. He can speak Serbian, English, and German. Playing on a team has allowed him to make friends and become more accustomed to American culture. He went on to say that adjusting to life in America has been fairly easy, but like all college students he often times gets homesick and tends to miss his friends, family, and food from home the most.
“I miss the city and the nightlife that is there as well,” said Neb.
While in his time at Seton Hill, Neb hopes to travel the country and especially wants to see and visit Chicago because it has the second biggest Serbian population in the world.
In Serbia, basketball is number one; it is the national sport and everyone plays it. His favorite team is the CB Red Star and his favorite player is Vlade Divac. Aside from basketball Neb also enjoys soccer and American football, his favorite team being the Chicago Bears. Serbia has five gold medals in the world championship and he as well as his fellow countrymen take pride in the success of the basketball team.
Being 7 feet tall certainly makes Neb stand out on the basketball court and even on campus or in the classrooms. Last year he started in six games and averaged eight points a game and six rebounds per game. Last year the men’s basketball team finished with a record of 15-12 and had a Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference (PSAC), playoff bid in their first season of play in the PSAC. No doubt that this humbly quiet seven footer will continue to help the Griffins this season and hopefully will make noise in contributing to a PSAC Championship in the near future.