Toronto basketball star Danilo Djuricic on playing for Harvard University

St. Michael's College alumnus has already met goals on and off the court, including a gold medal with Team Canada


Published:

Djuricic is going into his second year at Harvard University

Although 19-year-old Harvard basketball player Danilo Djuricic has already won a gold medal with Team Canada on the under-19 (U19) junior national team, he’s still focused on education first. Djuricic credits his parents for that kind of thinking. 

“My parents were always talking to me about how important school is, always preaching school first, sports second,” he says. 

Basketball found Djuricic, by virtue of good genes, rather than the other way around. 

“My first sport was soccer, but growing up I started hitting growth spurts, and I was a little bit taller than all the other kids,” Djuricic says. “One of my assistant coaches recommended I try basketball, so I tried house league and then rep.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Djuricic played with the Brampton Warriors, from Grades 5 to 8, and then played with CIA Bounce, from Grades 8 to 11, on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) circuit travelling the U.S.A. 

By Djuricic’s first year of high school at St. Michael’s College School, he was already on the varsity team and had received interest from Harvard, which he says really motivated him to stay on track. 

“It’s a very high academic school as well as having a really good basketball program, so I felt prepared very well by my high school.”

Djuricic says his time at St. Michael’s really prepared him for balancing school work and sports. 

“It’s a very high academic school as well as having a really good basketball program, so I felt prepared very well by my high school.”

He says this played a role on his path to Harvard. 

Djuricic has stayed true to his priorities after his first year at Harvard. 

“I do my best to work hard, scheduling when it’s time for work and when it’s time to play basketball. My priority is academics, so I get that finished and then work hard on the court,” Djuricic says. “It’s the best of both worlds: the best school in the entire world and a really great basketball program that’s on the rise.”

His discipline has paid off, earning him his proudest moment and possibly, he says, the greatest honour in his life — playing on the U19 junior national team and winning gold for Canada. 

“To win a gold medal for my country that has given so much opportunity for my parents and me was honestly one of the moments in my life I still can’t put into words,” Djuricic says. 

That gold medal–winning team also included another Canadian rising basketball star, R. J. Barrett. 

Even with this accomplishment under his belt, Djuricic says he still has a long way to go in his career. “My dream is to play at the highest level, the NBA.”

To all the kids who dream of playing professionally, too, Djuricic is quick to mention the importance of school first. 

“Continue to work hard at your craft, continue to do well in school because school comes first,” he says.

He also says to listen to your coaches to get to the highest level of trust with them, mentioning CIA Bounce coach Nicky Davis and high school coach Jeff Zownir as two influencing forces on his development as a player. 

With great success can come great sacrifice, but Djuricic says he has no regrets. 

“Being so dedicated to my craft as well as school, you miss out on things that other kids get to do. But I don’t mind it at all. There’s nothing I wouldn’t pass up for the position I’m in today.”

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Toronto's Real Estate Roundtable: What’s next for the housing market in 2019?

Toronto's Real Estate Roundtable: What’s next for the housing market in 2019?

The city's most insightful experts convened for our 12th annual event in front of a live audience at the Rotman School of Management
Posted 2 weeks ago
Double the laughs, double the fun

Double the laughs, double the fun

Legendary comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short bring their critically acclaimed stage show Now You See Them, Soon You Won't, to Toronto for two nights.
Posted 2 weeks ago
Interpretation of Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' takes the stage in Toronto

Interpretation of Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard' takes the stage in Toronto

Midtown film actor Arsinée Khanjian talks time, change and her role in the theatre production of a timeless classic
Posted 2 weeks ago
Toronto and Markham at odds over subway expansion

Toronto and Markham at odds over subway expansion

Premier is promising a Yonge Line extension to the 905, but what about midtown riders
Posted 2 weeks ago
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module