Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s basketball coach Peter Benoite was in Serbia recently to do a little scouting and to visit the home of Sea-Hawks’ star Vasilije Curcic.
Unfortunately, he didn’t return with another player of Curcic’s height or calibre.
“Vasilije was encouraging me all year to come and spend some time in Serbia,” said Benoite.
“I had been in contact with another player from Serbia who seemed worthy of following up with, as well as another 6-9 player.
“I worked out the 6-9 player I had been in contact with but, unfortunately, he wasn’t at the level I expected him to be. He does have another year of high school. I’ve given him some things he would need to work on, so you never know. He’s got good size and seems to want to improve, so I’ll certainly have him on the radar for next year.”
The veteran MUN mentor said he also took the opportunity to watch a number of youth players and some U19 club teams. Benoite said there’s a couple of other players he’s interested in, but they won’t be ready for two years. He plans to maintain contact with them.
“I haven’t been able to find exactly what I was looking for yet, but the positive thing is I’ve been able to make a couple of great contacts that should help me in the future in terms of recruits and also in terms of broadening my basketball knowledge,” said Benoite.
He added he made some contacts in an area that could be a great recruiting base for the future.
And while he was in Serbia, he decided it would be a great opportunity to get to know Curcic’s parents and get to know more about their culture.
“I was treated extremely well by Vasilije’s family and got along with them very well,” he said.
Benoite said they seemed to be rally happy their son’s in the MUN program.
“It was difficult at times communicating as his mom doesn’t speak any English, but through hand gestures and some German, we are able to communicate,” noted Benoite. “His dad’s English is pretty good, and improved since I was there. He could speak it before, it’s just that he hadn’t had opportunities to use it.
“His dad actually used to be a pretty good basketball player and I’ve been told that his mom was one of the top handball players in Serbia. So you can see where Vasilije gets his enthusiasm for sport.”
Benoite said he’s hoping Curcic’s parents will make it to St. John’s to see their son play with the Sea-Hawks, perhaps in the player’s fourth or fifth year.
“Vasilije’s brother is actually trying to come to Memorial to do a masters (degree) in mechanical engineering,” noted Benoite. “He has his undergrad at the University of Belgrade. He’s a pretty smart guy and would be great if he can get over as well, as it seems finding jobs in Belgrade is not the easiest.
“Vasilije also has a younger brother, 14-years old, and who is a pretty good basketball player as well. He’s big for his age. I’m hoping he grows to 6-9 like is older brother.”
In terms of recruits for the fall, here’s a list of those who have already committed to MUN: Jacob Ranton, 6-8, wing, Waterloo, Ont.; Daniel Foo, 5-10, guard, Corner Brook; Emmanuel Kwofie, 5-11, guard, Ottawa; and Davion Parnsalu, 5-10, guard, Toronto.
“There’s a couple of other players that have expressed interest as well, but not exactly sure what will happen at the moment,” said Benoite.
“I’m expecting a couple of walk on players to show up,” he added. Brownie points
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