Prep Basketball: Valdin Kudic is glad the KSD coach convinced him to join the basketball team
Senior Valdin Kudic has become a leader for a young KSD team, a major accomplishment for a player who once thought he was not good enough to play. KSD faces Garrard County tonight in the 45th District Tournament at Boyle County. (Mike Marsee / February 18, 2013)
He has become a leader on an otherwise young KSD boys team, as well as an important part of the Colonels’ inside game.
As his high school basketball career nears an end, he said he’s glad he decided to play and has enjoyed his three seasons in basketball — even this season when things haven’t always gone so well for the Colonels.
“I think we’ve done a good job, and I’ve enjoyed traveling and playing games, and I know it doesn’t matter whether you lose or win. I just enjoy it, and I’d be happy to teach my kids (basketball) in the future,” Kudic said through an interpreter.
Kudic didn’t make the decision to play for KSD, choosing not to come out for the team in his freshman year.
“I just didn’t think I was a good player. I wasn’t good enough,” he said.
KSD coach Mike Yance didn’t believe that, and he convinced Kudic to join the team the following year.
“I noticed him working hard (in the gym), so I said, ‘Come and play,’” Yance said through an interpreter.
Kudic hasn’t been a star player, but he has made an impact. And he had a memorable night Tuesday in the Colonels’ final home game of the season, leading the team with seven points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Danville Christian.
Entering tonight’s 45th District Tournament game against Garrard County, the 5-11 forward is averaging 3.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, and he said he feels he has made his biggest improvement this season on defense.
“He plays smart. He knows what to do, and he has the experience,” Yance said.
That has been important for a team that has relied heavily on young players this season.
The leading scorer is a sophomore, the leading rebounder is a junior, and Kudic is one of only two seniors — and the only one who has been with the team all season.
“I’m the coach, but he likes to be like an ‘assistant coach,’” Yance said with a grin. “But he’s really helped the team and helped them play together. He helps them to learn, (even though) sometimes they don’t like being told what to do from another player.”
Kudic was moved from Bosnia to the United States when he was an infant, and KSD assistant coach Byron Wilson said Kudic’s parents did not speak English before they moved to America and after he enrolled at KSD.
“He had to use special video relay service interpreters who were fluent in both American sign language and the Bosnian language when he called his parents via videophone,” Wilson said in an email.
Kudic spent time first in Iowa and then in New York before moving to Kentucky before his seventh-grade year.
“I like Kentucky,” he said. “I like the race horses. The first time I saw a horse race two years ago, I got a (betting) ticket but I lost.”
He hasn’t won much on the basketball court this season, either. KSD went 11-13 last year and 14-13 in Kudic’s first season, but the Colonels will take a 5-21 record into tonight’s game. Still, Kudic said he thinks the Colonels have made some progress.
“Yes I do. Maybe not a lot, but we have improved, I feel. But I know he’s not satisfied with it,” he said, gesturing toward Yance.
Kudic said he’d love to have one more season, but that won’t be possible. He has one more year of school remaining but will be too old to play, and he said he’ll miss the game.
“Yes, I will really miss it. At my last game, I don’t know how I’m going to feel,” he said.