Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Adnan Hodzic, a four-year starter for the Lipscomb basketball team, signed a one-year contract Tuesday to play professionally with the Walter Tigers of the German BBL League.
“It’s a great and emotional feeling that those years of hard work are paying off,” Hodzic said. “I feel blessed to be playing in a premier league the first year out of college.”
The Tigers are located in Tübingen, Germany, and play a 35-game schedule that runs from October until April. There are 18 teams in the BBL League, all located in Germany.
Hodzic gives credit for being able to play professionally to the Lipscomb coaching staff and his teammates.
“I wouldn’t be here without the mentoring and development work of Coach Sanderson and the rest of my coaches and teammates.”
The process of signing with the Walter Tigers began about six weeks ago when its coach, Igor Perovic, began expressing interest to one of Hodzic’s agents. Perovic is Serbian which allows him and Hodzic to communicate without a language barrier.
“Hodzic has been one of the major players and best scorers across all NCAA conferences in the last three years,” Perovic said in a written statement on the team’s website. “He is an exceptionally aggressive basketball player and is hard to stop near the basket.”
General Manager Robert Wintermantel thought Hodzic would bring passion to the team.
“He is a top player with top qualities that also shows a positive body language,” Wintermantel said. “This is very important for the success of a team that was missing last season. Now we have two emotional leaders with [Vaughn] Duggins and him.”
Hodzic says the Tigers will be a young team this year, but he’s already excited about his future teammates.
He will be joined in the frontcourt by Tyrone Nash, a 6-foot-8 power forward out of Notre Dame, and guard Vaughn Duggins, a three-time All-Horizon League selection at Wright State.
Wintermantel has told media outlets that Hodzic will be the starting center for the Tigers.
“Getting to play and make an impact right away is not something that you can easily substitute for somewhere else,” Hodzic said.
Hodzic was a three-time First Team All-Atlantic Sun Selection, an Associated Press All-American, and Lipscomb’s NCAA-era career leading scorer with 2,002 points.
Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson praised Hodzic as one of the players most deserving to play professionally in his 25 years of coaching.
"Adnan has put in a lot of hours and they've paid off," Sanderson said. "As good of a person he is on the floor, he's even a better person off the floor. I'm excited for him to get this opportunity."
Hodzic will represent his home nation of Bosnia at the EuroBasket Championship in Lithuania next month. He leaves for training camp with the national team on Saturday.
“It’s all still a surreal feelings,” Hodzic said. “My family and I are ecstatic for the opportunity to play professionally.”