It’s not every day that you get to hear a seven-foot Serbian basketball star belt out a tune in the shower.
But after watching men’s basketball centre Igor Bakovic and his team play over the weekend, the team has earned every right to start singing.
Waiting outside the team’s changeroom for Bakovic, notorious for being the last one out, you could hear the foreign sounds of cheering, applause and laughter from within the room. Winning will do that to you sometimes.
Sure, the squad is off to an impressive undefeated start. But what may be most surprising about this year’s team doesn’t show up in the boxscores.
The team played with an incredible sense of enthusiasm and energy for the first time in years. Even Bakovic, usually calm and reserved, got in on the fun, barking and encouraging his team with the clock winding down.
The squad was playing with so much fire, it was addicting.
Usually sparse and quiet, the crowd was the liveliest the Kerr Hall Gym has seen since the volleyball team last made the playoffs. Bakovic’s proud parents even started dancing in their seats once their son sealed the game with a pair of free throws.
When the final buzzer sounded, a celebration usually reserved for championship victories erupted. Players from the past and present stormed centre court, celebrating with teammates and friends.
In a time where the only teams to play at Ryerson are the basketball teams and the struggling volleyball program, having a winner on campus is a breath of fresh air. And with Bakovic playing in his last season at Ryerson — a year that will decide if the veteran plays pro when he leaves or not — there is little doubt the team will miss the playoffs again. Simply put, neither Bakovic nor the school can afford to suffer yet another losing season.
Talking with Igor’s brother, wunderkind sophomore Boris, after the game, a smile the size of Texas crawls across his face. And who can blame him?
After being the lone sparkplug on the team last year, Boris has found a team that will not only match his skill level, but also match his level of intensity.
He might not have been the star of the game, but he visibly had the most fun he’s had at the school in a while. Winning will do that to you sometimes.