December 17, 2018

SGA President turns focus to making impact in sports

Since becoming President of the Student Government Association (SGA) senior Vladimir Radojkovic said one of his first accomplishments that he is most proud of is extending the gym hours on the weekends. “The first thing I achieved was longer gym hours, it was always open until 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and I usually have a lot of errands to run around that time,” Radojkovic said. “The extension to 9 p.m. that just happened is not a permanent extension, it’s going to be a trial, but I am confident that students are going to support it.”

Now Radojkovic embarks on a new mission. He said he wants to prove himself as a talented basketball player. As a senior, he will be on Webster’s men’s varsity basketball roster for the first time. He said he wanted to join the basketball team in his last year of college because of his passion for the game and he wants to make the most of his last opportunity to play on a team.

“I’ve been playing basketball for 10 or 12 years, I like the sport of basketball,” Radojkovic said. “I just wanted to finish as a basketball player my senior year. I’m doing this because this is my last chance to play organized basketball.”

Radojkovic was first introduced to the team his sophomore year at Webster. He started going to the team’s practices and workouts, trying to contribute and make himself a part of the program in any way he could.

That season, Head Coach Chris Bunch placed him on the team’s junior varsity roster. The next year Radojkovic was forced to spend some time away from the team due to injuries and other personal issues, but now he is healthy, on the varsity roster and ready to make the most of what will be his last season of basketball.

“I expect myself to be the person who shows up regularly at practices and doesn’t miss practices,” Radojkovic said. “I want to be there for my teammates and be a person who is basically a soldier on the court.”   

Bunch said Radojkovic’s ability as a facilitator and a finisher around the rim is what makes him a formidable player for the team.

“He’s a good passer,” Bunch said. “He passes the ball well and sees the floor well. He’s good around the basket. He can shoot with both hands and he has some good big guy skills.”

Due to Radojkovic being away from the team so much last season, Bunch said it has been hard for him to fully grasp the team’s playbook like he would if he was with the team regularly like the rest of the players. Despite that, Bunch said he continues to learn and progress while having the support of his teammates.

“The guys accept him really well. I think everyone likes Vlad,” Bunch said. “I think it’s been kind of hard for him because he’s been hurt off and on, and he hasn’t been there all the time. But he’s very intelligent, he picks up stuff, but I think it’s a case of his injuries have kept him from progressing farther along than he has.”

Junior guard Jordan Clay is a transfer student from Blackburn College and this is his first year as a member of Webster’s basketball team as well. Clay said the camaraderie that he built with Radojkovic helped him get acclimated to the team and the school.

“When I first got here, he was one of the first people who came up to me, basically just letting me know how everything works with the team and how everything goes around school,” Clay said. “He let me know that if I needed him for anything I could come to him, and I felt like that opened the door for me to ask him any question that I had and it just went from there.”

Radojkovic is a native of Serbia and played basketball in the National League of Serbia before coming to the United States. He played against players who are now in the NBA like Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. He said he always looked up to the great players that came from his country. He has respect for them as players and the tough times that them and so many other Serbian citizens had to endure during war times in their country.

“My role models are always the Serbian players,” Radojkovic said. “I think it’s very hard for players from my country who grew up during poverty and war. We had a war in 1999 so a lot of these players who play in the NBA now actually remember going to the basement every night after the bombings.”

Radojkovic said he wants to honor his country in everything he does.

“Whatever I do in college, being a president, being an athlete, it’s all in response to the struggle of my people.” Radojkovic said.

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