The Wolfpack women’s basketball program has signed a standout recruit for the 2021 U SPORTS season: Danijela Kovačević, a 17-year-old five-foot-seven point guard that Coach Goran Nogic expects to have an instant and long-lasting impact on the team.
Kovačević was noticed due to her speed, persistence, and shooting accuracy. She currently plays for Belgrade Partizan, a multi-sport club based in the Serbian capital Belgrade, but the 17-year-old is excited to play for TRU. Kovačević arrives after graduating high school in the spring of 2021.
“I have heard a lot of nice things about Thompson Rivers University. It seemed that it is [the] right place for me, a place where I would be able to continue playing basketball and at the same time get a quality education, which is my wish,” she said. “I think that TRU is a very good place to grow into a very good player and a good student.”
Nogic believes Kovačević’s unique skill set will lend to the current program while making way for her to develop into a leader on the team: “Her unusual athleticism and [winning] mentality help her to score in different ways. I am also sure that her positive approach to the game and unselfish behaviour will turn her teammates into even better players.”
Nogic also trusts Kovačević’s basketball skills.
“The main reason to choose [Kovačević] as one of our future leaders is her capacity to play on a very high level in both directions. She is a great defender who will cause a lot of problems to opponents’ point guards,” Nogic noted, adding, “She is a fighter and player with a very strong and competitive character.”
Kovačević will sport the #7 jersey, previously worn by graduated point guard Emma Piggin, who now helms the assistant coach position of the team.
COVID-19 has presented different and unique challenges in recruiting according to Nogic, but the coach plans to use this time to build a competitive team.
“This year, we have a very young team with seven players in their first and second years. Our roster is also smaller – we count with 10 players. As we know, this season will be different. We will use this year to grow individually and to get the necessary experience for playing at the U SPORTS level,” he said.
“At the same time, we are in the process of recruiting some additional Canadians and international prospects who should give us, together with Danijela, that necessary final touch to become a competitive women’s basketball program in the Canada West conference.”