Tag Archives: Dejan Cvoro

More on the transfers

So three players are leaving the WKU basketball program. From an on-the-court standpoint, there’s not much lost here. Magley did provide some much-needed size and had a great postseason compared to the regular season, and Cvoro made 10 starts to help aid the bench, with Sergio Kerusch coming off of it. Komadinic was bothered by foot injuries for most of the season and, outside of a 15-point outing in the season opener, hadn’t contributed much. Overall, though, these spots opening up will be filled well by the incoming signees, so in the end, this episode might do more good than harm. A few more thoughts on the transfers and what they mean:

  • The loss opens up two scholarships to give for next season. The NCAA allows 13 scholarship athletes to a roster. Redshirt senior transfer Nemanja Milosevic will be a walk-on, so with five players coming back on scholarship and five apparent incoming freshman — with academic redshirt Jameson Tipping probably gaining a scholarship next season — that will leave two openings for players. Look  for McDonald’s final two recruits to be big — that is, unless he decides to give Milosevic the scholarship.
  • One part of this whole deal that makes me wonder is the Komadinic part. McDonald said that regardless of next season, he would not have been on scholarship anyway. Was he a quick fix? Who knows? But I must say that if McDonald does this well with the players he got this season, no telling how well McDonald can do with the players he has coming in next season.

A few more quotes from the cutting room floor:

  • McDonald on Cvoro: “As the season went on, I think all freshman hit a wall, and he never got through the wall. And a lot of freshman take the time to get over the hump and continue to get better, and he struggled with that. He’s going to have to eventually deal with that and understand that if he does want to get better, where his ceiling is, he’s going to have to go up and step up physically and mentally. The long practices, the physical part of the game gave him trouble, and competing, to be honest. You want your kids to have a lot of pride, and he has to get better in those areas to reach his potential. But he does have a high ceiling. He’s talented.”
  • McDonald on Magley: “Focus is a big thing for him. He has the ability. He dropped weight at the beginning of the year. He lost 30 pounds, so I give him a lot of credit for working hard. Now, that doesn’t guarantee you’re going to have a lot of success. You gotta do it on the court and continue to improve. So no matter what system he goes in to, he might go in to a situation where he is the big fish in the small pond, and obviously a lot of time and effort can be put in to making sure he touches the ball all the time. And there’s no question that players develop that way…But as we talked about his role coming back, nothing changed. We gave every opportunity to every player at the beginning of the year to give us some confidence to run plays for him, to be an inside-outside team…I hope the right situation gets to be honest, so that he can have a great two years.”
  • McDonald on their need for size next season after the loss of Magley: “We’ve got some coming in. The void that will filled the most is at the center position with (redshirt senior Nemanja Milosevic) sitting out and being ready. Obviously, a guy that’s played Division-I and has a chance to really help us. He’s really been through now a year of practice, and we fully expect him to be a big part of what we’re doing. I’m really excited we have him right now. And anything that comes in, the guy that comes in after this, is a guy that we can bring along and develop.”

As far as where these guys end up: After talking with Magley, he says he has prospective teams but didn’t care to comment on who. McDonald said he thought Komadinic could end up in Division-II due to his need for a scholarship and because he is not that well-known. As for Cvoro, McDonald believes he can play at a high level when he learns to compete, but he would not be surprised to see him and Komadinic on the same team in Division-II because of their close friendship.

-David Harten


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Magley and two others released from scholarship

The Western men’s basketball program announced today that three players were released from their scholarships.

Sophomore forward D.J. Magley, freshman guard Dejan Cvoro and junior guard Uros Komandinic were all granted releases from their scholarships today to pursue other opportunities.

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Second half, 35.1 seconds to go: FIU 46, WKU 66

Looks like you can wrap it up. Cvoro comes in and hits a three to extend the lead, and I doubt FIU is channeling UConn right now. WKU will play the winner of fourth-seeded North Texas vs. fifth-seeded MTSU, who play next at 3:30 pm.

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First half, 3:19 to go: WKU 35, MTSU 13

Since coming back in, Mendez-Valdez has 8 pts (including back-to-back threes) and the knee doesnt seem to be bothering him now. The MTSU offense has just gone cold, finally scoring around the six-minute mark to break the drought. Sally was called for a carry, then a foul on defense. Magley comes in and Dejan Cvoro is now seeing his first action of the game, coming in for Kerusch (and it’s killing the MTSU PA guy, who can’t pronounce his name but is trying to). Cvoro hits a three in his first 30 seconds on the court. Another miss by MTSU, from Demetrius Green, as Mendez-Valdez hits his third three since returning from hurting his knee. Davis calls a 30-second TO.

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Judging by this game, Western vs. Middle Tennessee should be a great race to the SBC East title–maybe even better than last season’s between the Toppers and South Alabama.

A few nuggets, good and bad, from the game:

  • Though neither team played well offensively (a combined 29 turnovers), a great finish helped make up for it. Both team were able to keep up manageable shooting percentages–Western shot 42.9% compared to MTSU’s 43.6%.
  • I’m starting to wonder whether or not this so-called “experiment” with Dejan Cvoro starting over Sergio Kerusch is permanent. Cvoro got his sixth straight start, and Kerusch is thriving off the bench as a sixth man. Cvoro’s learning curve will be faster, and Kerusch can give that already-thin bench some much needed help.
  • Kerusch also continues to be a double-double machine, posting 15 points and 10 boards in the win, his fourth double-double of the season. Jeremy Evans also pulled down 10 rebounds paired with five points.
  • Despite a thin bench, Western got one of its best outing from the reserves, holding a 20-9 scoring edge over the Blue Raiders.
  • The Toppers have shown they know how to win close games so far this season. Western has won four of six games decided by 10 points or less, and when coach Ken McDonald’s technical and subsequent free throws left them in a 47-41 hole, the Toppers were able to go on a 9-0 run and retake the lead.
  • The woes continue on Western’s depleted bench. Sophomore guard D.J. Magley continues to put himself in a hole early in the foul column (three fouls in six minutes), and senior forwards Japeth Aguilar and Matt Maresca combined for zero points off zero shots two rebounds in 14 minutes. If the Toppers want to be a postseason team, one of those players, or senior forward Mike Walker, has to start contributing better minutes off the bench.
  • New Orleans comes in ranked 11th in the SBC in scoring offense, but fourth in scoring defense. Western swept UNO last season and currently hold a five-game winning streak over the Privateers (8-9, 3-4 SBC West Division) dating back to 2004.

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Bench Production Woes

It goes without saying that as the Toppers’ play has been inconsistent this year. What has proven to be even more inconsistent is Western’s production off the bench, as well as the Toppers’ big men’s production off the bench.

Sophomore forward D.J. Magley has started just one game this season and is averaging a meek 2.9 points per game. Mike Walker has appeared in 13 games this season and is averaging 1.1 points and just 2.2 rebounds per game.

Thankfully, the tandem of A.J. Slaughter, Orlando Mendez-Valdez, Steffphon Pettigrew and Sergio Kerusch are all averaging double figures in points. It can also be added that Jeremy Evans is averaging 9.4 points per game.

It’s tough to find any actual trends in the bench production or even Magley and Walker’s production. The bench produced 30 points in the Toppers’ blow-out loss to Murray State, yet in their most recent loss to Mississippi State, the bench scored just six points, all coming via Kerusch.

While the Toppers are living without a bench, the question is, how much longer can they? Fatigue and injuries could become a factor down the stretch, not to mention the fact that it is very difficult for six guys to win three games in three days once Western enters the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

I said after Western beat SIU, Louisville and Georgia that they would have no excuse not to win the Sun Belt Tournament, but after looking at these stats, they may be able to point the finger at the bench should the Toppers bow out early in March.

It will be an interesting trend to follow here through conference play. It is going to be critical for the likes of Magley and Walker to at least get their point averages up to the six- or seven-point range, and folks like Uros Komadinic and Dajan Cvoro could add seven or eight points per game to give a much needed boost. If four players can come in and average together about 20 points in addition to a balanced attack from the starters, it could be the boost Western is looking for and needing.

Here are the bench points game by game with a few comments:

Miss. State (6) All six points came from sophomore guard Sergio Kerusch.

UALR (21) Game was a blow-out, and starters played fewer minutes than usual.

Troy (23)

Fla. State (7)

Ala. A&M (21)

South Al. (4)

Evansville (12) Not too bad, considering the Toppers only scored 40 points.

Tulane (5)

Georgia (12)

Louisville (10) All came from Anthony Sally.

SIU (10) Again, all 10 points came via Sally.

Murray State (30)

Campbellsville (28 )

Houston (25)

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