Marko Radojicic to play big role in St. Andrew's bid for boys basketball title
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
by Jeff Greer
Most teams arrive in Lakeland for the boys state basketball tournament already aware of the players on the opposing teams. If Orlando-Lake Highland Prep wasn't familiar with St. Andrew's center Marko Radojicic before Tuesday's state semifinals, it sure is now.
The 6-foot-8 Radojicic, primarily a backup center all season, had 17 points and five rebounds in St. Andrew's 55-49 win over Havana-East Gadsden on Tuesday. He'll play an equally important role in Thursday's state championship game against Lake Highland Prep at 4:30 p.m. at the Lakeland Center.
"He played aggressive," senior guard George Andino said of Radojicic. "All this year, I've been getting on him that he needs to be strong if we want to go places. If we want to win, he's got to play that way again, even more aggressive."
With star big man Asil Kalkavan still slowed by an ankle injury, St. Andrew's (24-3) needed Radojicic -- who averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game off the bench this season -- to step in as its go-to post presence in the semifinals.
"He did all the intangible things," East Gadsden coach Demetric Salters said of Radojicic. "He set screens. He got rebounds for them. He did his job."
On Thursday, Radojicic faces the challenge of guarding Lake Highland Prep's 6-8 center Denzel Davis, who has committed to Rice University.
Having a player adjust into a new role doesn't surprise longtime St. Andrew's coach John O'Connell, who said his team is built on versatility. The Scots have a base defense, but they shift strategies and schemes based on opponent. Players' roles change frequently and Radojicic is no different.
"This team -- t-e-a-m -- is special," O'Connell said before the state semifinals. "Nobody's better than anybody else. They play together, they move around, they contribute where they're needed."