Regardless of how far he goes, Ivan Lukic knows that it’s impressive how far he has come. While his journey is still not close to being finished, the challenges that he has faced give him the confidence to achieve anything.
Growing up in Serbia, Ivan was surrounded by the conflicts of the former Yugoslavia. While he was fortunate to not live directly in a conflict zone, it was an experience that shaped him. “From two years old to seven it was war there; it was a very bad situation. It was bad because of the restrictions. We couldn’t go outside to play because the planes were flying around. It was dangerous to go outside because of everything going on. But, I was very glad to be in an area that wasn’t as affected by the war,” said Lukic.
But the game of basketball was not an expected part of his life. Although he didn’t have an early interest in the game, because many of his friends played, Lukic soon followed suit and discovered a gift. Ivan appreciates the opportunity that basketball has afforded him. “I wanted to graduate and play basketball at a high level. In Europe you can either play basketball or study at university. But here you can study at a great university and play basketball at a high level.”
The adjustment to the United States has been made easier by the youth and diversity of JMU’s basketball team. When talking about his relationship with his teammates, Lukic glows. “It was great to have so many cultures and personalities.”
While the relationship with his teammates has helped his acclimation to life off the court, it has also been beneficial to the growth on the court. Lukic is confident that the chemistry that the Dukes are building will help the team reach new heights. “We are very young, the youngest team in the country, so we have to improve in almost every area. But it’s only a question of time. There are so many international players that are used to different styles. Once we get everything together, we will be great.”
Given what he has been through thus far, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be able to get there.