Pittsburgh, PA — As a player, Duquesne junior forward Marko Krivacevic is certainly aware of what his strong suit is.
“I like shooting,” he said. “I never had a machine before, so I try to shoot as much as I can an improve my percentage. It depends when I came here first I was shooting a thousand shots a day but as time goes on, a little less, now it’s 300-400 makes.”
Krivacevic missed seven games with a wrist injury he sustained 3-to-4 weeks prior to the season and several more as he caught up to speed, but when Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot was looking for an edge Jan. 31 against George Washington, he went with his Hungarian shooter.
“It’s a gutsy move, but I just felt it was the right one,” Dambrot said.
Krivacevic drained two three-point shots in the road victory, capitalizing on the opportunity that he was presented.
“It was a great feeling having the ball in my hand and proving I could help the team,” said Krivacevic. “I hope I can get more chances like that. I feel like I can do much more on the court.”
The journey to America
Though he was never pressured, Krivacevic is certainly part of an athletic family.
His father Dragoljub and mother Vera both played professionally with time in both Serbia and Hungary. Krivacevic has two sisters with Jelena having played tennis at South Alabama from 2005-08 and his other sister Tijana, a third round selection by the Seattle Storm in the 2010 WNBA Draft.
As far as his love for basketball, Krivacevic admits them being active certainly was a help, though his own self discovery was what has allowed him to enjoy time on the court.
“I felt like it and they supported me,” he said of his decision to play basketball. “Somehow it progressed from a young age. As I grew up I played basketball and was into sports. I grew up like that, I don’t know when I decided. I still want prove it to (my parents) and make them proud.”
Krivacevic played basketball in Hungary which helped him understand tactics and fundamentals. It was not until he came to America where he saw more passion, physicality and a faster pace of play.
It was not until Krivacevic turned 16 that he began to take basketball seriously, understand the opportunities it could provide to him.
“As a little kid I just liked playing with the ball,” said Krivacevic. “Later on, I switched into basketball being my life. I like to play basketball and even get opportunities like this is amazing. You come here, study and play basketball, it’s great.”
When the time came to come to America, Krivacevic played junior college at Miami Dade College, where he understood the different style that basketball in the states provided.
Enjoying a new home
One thing that will not be taken away from Krivacevic is that he was the first recruit to sign under Dambrot.
In a time where Dambrot was trying to keep players, recruit for the upcoming season and for the 2018-19 campaign, Krivacevic was the first to sign on the dotted line.
Part of what influenced Krivacevic’s decision was the Duquesne community which included both Hungarian and Serbian players on the women’s basketball roster.
“I was thinking that there were closer fans, that was one aspect,” he said. “When I visited the place, I was amazed about everything so there was no question about coming here. It’s a great community, I like this place.”
Though Krivacevic has not played in as many games as he would have desired, it has only allowed him to further appreciate his surroundings and where he is currently at in his career.
“I have never been to such a well-prepared program,” said Krivacevic. “Everything is on the next level. I feel like here I can get much better than anywhere I’ve been before.”
Leaving a legacy
When Duquesne hosted Fordham this past weekend, Dambrot was looking for scoring production from his post spots.
Fordham tightly guards a team’s guards but with the post there were scoring opportunities. Dambrot sensed this after the first meeting between the two teams and gave Krivacevic his first start in a Duquesne uniform.
Though the start was short lived after a couple of quick mistakes, it showed trust and that what Krivacevic did against George Washington could provide for future opportunities.
Krivacevic missed the first seven games of the season with a wrist injury which required surgery in order to speed up his return date.
A week after the GW game, Krivacevic reflection on the performance and how there would not be any settling with the result from that contest.
“First I’ve got to prove myself in practice,” he said. “On court when I get a chance, I have to go as hard as I can and prove to coach that he can trust me.”
While Krivacevic prides himself on shooting, he knows he needs to produce more on defense to earn more playing time.
“I just have to be brave and do what I know to do on the court,” said Krivacevic. “This system is that you can’t make little mistakes which is hard for me since I don’t have as much reps with it. I just have to get more into it and used to it so I can make no mistakes. At this point I have to play, I can’t make any excuses. We are already in the season, I just have to play. No confidence boost is going to change that.”
After this year, Krivacevic will have one more season of eligibility but it is his hope that there will be plenty of basketball to play.
“I still really would want to play basketball and see what the season brings me and us as a team,” Krivacevic said. “From that point, I will see but there are a lot of options still.”
Still, the focus is very much on the present with at least six more games promised and an endless amount of possibilities.
Though Duquesne currently has a three-game losing streak, it has regained fans, attention and respect among teams in the Atlantic 10.
Krivacevic has enjoyed his experience thus far and believes there is still more to come.
“Even though I haven’t played it feels so good to be a part of this team, a winning team,” he said.