Every NCAA coach looks to increase their competitive advantage each year, and more recently international recruiting has become a major game changer here in the states. Roughly 11 percent of the 2016-2017 NCAA rosters have athletes that were born abroad, a striking increase of about 40 percent over the past decade, and Oral Roberts University is no exception.
ORU basketball has welcomed their newest gem, Emir Ahmedic, a 6’8” forward born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The journey to become a Golden Eagle has taken the European native 5,543 miles across the pond to his newest home in Tulsa.
Ahmedic described how during his senior campaign as a part of the Arkansas Wings, the young European was noticed by ORU’s Associate Head Coach Rodney Perry, who invited him to visit ORU.
“When I took my visit, I liked the campus and liked the people here.”
Looking back at the young Bosnian’s career, Ahmedic has become one of the most interesting young athletes that ORU has stashed away on its roster. Shedding some light on where his passion for the game stemmed from, Ahmedic went on to say that his brother has always been his idol. He said when his brother picked up a ball for the first time and started to play, Emir followed suit.
“I wanted to be just like my brother, so I started playing,” Ahmedic said.
Shortly after, he made the U16 Bosnian national team in 2013.
“They watch you through the whole year, and if you are good enough, they select you to the first 30 people, and then they cut it down to 20 people and eventually down to 12 people,” explained Ahmedic.
The championship squad beat every team by an average of seven points on their rise to stardom, until the young Bosnian club was edged by two points to an excellent Denmark team.
“Some coaches came and saw me and watched my highlights, so I came to a prep school in Little Rock,” Ahmedic said. This eventually opened the door to become recruited as the next Golden Eagle.
“There is a huge difference between the way Americans and Europeans play,” said Ahmedic. He learned and adapted to American basketball, and he elevated his level of play to become a formidable presence on the court.
“Back home, basketball is more of a set play type and here it is more run-and-gun. It was different to adjust, but I adjusted.”
Many international players go professional after finishing high school and 22 percent of the NBA is comprised of foreign athletes.
For Ahemdic, dreams of playing professionally follow completion of his degree.