Basketball team

The transfer has an impact on the men’s basketball team

It’s not common for a Division III program to get an athlete with Division I talent, but when the Ithaca College men’s basketball team landed senior forward Luka Radovich, the Bombers added one star to their starting lineup.

After spending two seasons playing college basketball at the Division I level, Radovich transferred from Fordham University to Ithaca College and smoothly transitioned into a top role at South Hill. Radovich, who spent his first two years of eligibility in New York with the Rams, played in 15 games and started 14, shooting 49.5 percent from the field and leading the team with 16.3 points per game. The six-foot-six forward only saw playing time in three games, which was a big factor in his decision to choose college, before being transferred to middle School and logged at least 20 minutes of playing time in all but two games in which he appeared.

When he was in high school, Radovich said he was weighing options between offers from Division III schools. or stepping on a Division I program. Radovich’s Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach played at Fordham University and he said he helped him with his decision.

“I remember my coach telling me, “You can always go from Division I to Division III, but you’ll never have that opportunity again,” Radovich said. “So I took it and ran with it. I don’t regret going there or anything, and the experiences have been second to none. I just wanted to get back out there and play.

On May 15, 2020, Radovich officially decided to transfer from Fordham University to Ithaca College. However, he had to wait until November 12, 2021, to debut with the Bombers because the 2020-21 season was canceled following the COVID-19 pandemic. Radovich said he wasn’t nervous to perform well in his first game with his new teammates, but there were some nerves as it had been a while since he started a game.

“It was my first full game to start, with [referees] and a crowd and everything, in four years since my senior year of high school,” Radovich said. “Hearing my name called in the starting lineup before the game gave me chills.”

Those chills quickly dissipated as Radovich dropped a season-best 36 points for the Bombers season 75–72opening loss to Alfred University.

Radovich typically plays in the paint for the Bombers at both ends of the court, using his quickness to maneuver around slower, bigger opponents to get to the hoop, but still possesses the skill and finesse to shoot from distance and create games. On the defensive side of the game, he uses his physicality to hold his own against the tallest player on the other team on the field. Although he was transferred to the program before current head coach Waleed Farid was hired, he knew the team was a perfect fit for him when it came to style of play.

Radovich quickly settled into his role on the pitch and into life on South Hill. One of the factors that persuaded him to come to college was the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Radovich, a sports media pundit, said the college strikes the perfect balance between basketball and academics, especially compared to the workload at his former university. Instead of long weekdays starting with shift lifts at 7 a.m. and ending with an evening class at Fordham, Radovich has a typical class schedule and a shift lift before each practice. Radovich said it was a good change for him in terms of academics, social life and basketball.

Another reason Radovich decided to join the South Hill team was his childhood friend and current teammate, senior guard George Sikoryak III. When Radovich started looking for transfer opportunities, he spoke to Sikoryak and realized he had a chance to play with his longtime friend.

The pair is of Cresskill, New Jersey, and have known each other since their preschool days. Sikoryak said it was fun to jump fences to each other’s childhood homes, play together in high school, and be together again as teammates.

“It was a great feeling to relive old memories. It’s great to play with him. He’s a great player, and he’s a fun guy to play with, so it was great to see him again,” Sikoryak said.

Radovich transferred to college before Farid was hired as the team’s head coach, so Farid didn’t know much about the senior. Since Radovich had some time to get to know his teammates before Farid arrived, Farid said team leaders like Sikoryak and senior guard Skylar Sinon said they had a high opinion. of Radovich, and Farid was impressed when he saw Radovich enter the field.

“To be honest, I didn’t know much about him,” Farid said. “There were guys in the team who were very happy with the new transfer, but once I got here and had access to some of the training footage from last year … It wasn’t until the first two weeks of training that I realized what a special talent he was when you see [him] face to face, in person on a daily basis.

During his coaching years, Farid said he had mixed experiences with transfers. He’s had work, and some haven’t, and added that it’s hard to figure out transfers until they actually get some game time. For Radovich, however, Farid said he doesn’t there were no bumps in the road.

“I would probably say it was a seamless transfer,” Farid said. “I think the good thing also for Luka is that he was here last year, so it was not his first year to experience everything with Ithaca. … Being able to be on campus, taking classes, being with the guys, it was really just getting used to how we were going to do things that were really good for him.

During the first half of the season, Farid said he watched Radovich as a rather quiet leader. Although he’s not afraid to talk to his teammates, he prefers to let his game do the talking and lead by example.

“He has a very high level of confidence, and I think that rubs off on the guys,” Farid said. “When he plays really well, it inspires and motivates [the team] to excite the other guys.

Radovich is often tasked with going up against the biggest players on the opposing team but still has the talent set of a guard. Whether it’s securing low rebounds or creating scoring opportunities from the perimeter, Sikoryak said Radovich has become a reliable all-around option for the team.

“He’s someone you know if you need a big hit he could hit him,” Sikoryak said. “It’s nice to see that you know he will do whatever we need to do to win. … He might not be the biggest down there if he’s up against someone six-foot-eight or six-foot-nine, but he plays like that.

With only a handful of regular season games remaining before the Liberty League tournament, Radovich said he feels comfortable and confident with his new team. He was able to showcase all areas of his game throughout the season and is ready to make an impact for the Bombers down the stretch.

“I think we really got the ball rolling,” Radovich said. “Guys are stepping up, they’re finding their roles and they do what they are able to do. So I think everyone is locked in and engaged, and this team can really achieve something special.