Basketball player gets recruited into division one football

Nikola Kresovich a former student athlete of Palomar College transferred to the University of Las Vegas after only one semester into his freshman year.

He is a former long snapper for the Comet’s football team and achieved what most student athletes aspire the most and some never get to see, getting recruited to a division one school. Kresovich not only achieved the far-fetched goal, but took matters into his own hands and began his training through YouTube videos.

Standing at six feet three inches and weighing 240 pounds, Kresovich gained his passion for sports through basketball. A passion that he was introduced to at a young age by his family. Kresovich’s family has a long line of athleticism trailing back to his uncle that was drafted by the Colorado Rockies and a cousin that played in the NBA for the Lakers.

“Oh well it first started with baseball as a little kid then I transferred over to basketball, cause I saw my first cousin play in the NBA so I started playing basketball for the majority of my whole life,” he said, after being asked how he was first introduced to sports.

“Once I went to my junior year in high school after transferring to Orange Glen, I watched it on a YouTube video, that [long snapping] came up and I looked to my cousin’s house the next couple of week’s and messed around with him with it.” Kresovich said.

Sofia Kresovich, his older sister, commented on Nikola’s self-taught methods when choosing he wanted to learn long snapping. “ He looked up the videos and started snapping to me and my mom till it got to the point he was snapping so fast we couldn’t catch it…we ended up just grabbing a fish net to catch it,” chuckled Sofia.

Whether it be genes trickled down to be a part of his athletic ability or the unwavering support from his loving family, adversity struck him at a young age and would cause this athlete to continuously battle for what he desired.

“He’s had some adversity, he was diagnosed when he was five months old with asthma, so he had to balance that out” said his mother Laura Kresovich when asked about his health. “ I called him the locomotive, He would be injured, have asthma attacks but it didn’t matter he would always show up,” she added.

Kresovich’s constant battle with asthma brought him to his knees once when playing basketball for his high school Orange Glen, but that would only serve as motivation to prove to those around him his adversity would not define him. His resilience and loyalty not only to the sport, but to his teammates caught the eye of those coaches that saw potential in the novice long snapper.

Chris Featherly, Kresovich’s varsity basketball coach shared an occasion where Kresovich seemed drained after an intense portion of their CIF training. “Someone had mentioned that Niko looked really tired and I said, “Nik you’re okay” and he stood up and said “yes sir!’…He’s always been a respectable yes man,” shared the basketball coach. Coach Featherly shared his “shock and pride” when receiving the news of Kresovich’s success in transferring with only a semester into his first year in college.

When contacting the special teams program at the University of Las Vegas they had nothing more to say than they are very “proud and excited” to see what legacy the long snapper will leave for the well known team once they get him “up and running” for this upcoming season.

Kresovich’s struggles with health only unveiled to those around him the determination and drive he had in achieving his greatest potential. “He never wants to be on top or the best, he just wants everyone to succeed with him.” mentioned his little sister Maja Kresovich.

Nikola’s home is a warm and welcoming environment where everyone in the family referred themselves as best friends. It is then not a surprise why his coaches, teammates and friends saw him as a loyal and genuine person to be around with and saw him drag those principles to the field.

“A Big Guy with a Big Heart” was the phrase his close friend Brandon Montes used when describing him. Kresovich’s character has never been put to question and his actions shut down many of the assumptions made of how intimidating a tall, broad athlete like him could be.

His punter Tyson Dyer, a recent recruit from the University of New Mexico, shared his experience on and off the field when working with Kresovich. “ It was really easy to connect with him, he’s just such a good guy. For his position he is very good, He just lacks a bit of confidence” Tyson said. “Which was my job, to remind him how good he was,” he added.

Pictures featuring Nikola Kresovich (54) in Fall of 2017 during his one semester on Palomar's football team. Pictures courtesy of Kresovich.

Pictures featuring Nikola Kresovich (54) in Fall of 2017 during his one semester on Palomar’s football team. Pictures courtesy of Kresovich.

With an uneasy confidence and a motivation like no other, his coaches saw great potential in him and got him in contact with various recruits looking for their newest addition to the special teams program.

According to Kresovich’s parents, recruiters from Sacramento State, UC Davis among many others were knocking at his door asking for a chance to see his potential in action. His parents had frequently reminded Kresovich of the importance of good academic standing when being recruited. “I constantly told him that if he took the hardest classes he could at a community college it would pay off later,” said his mother. “

The former Palomar comet was directly admitted into the civil engineering program at the University of Las Vegas and is an example that succeeding in both areas is an important factor when wanting to stand out amongst a crowd. Kresovich’s academic success rewarded him a position as the first choice long snapper at UNLV where he felt at home.

Family and friends alike are the focal point for the rookie long snapper. “I’m close to home, I have family out here, a Serbian church out here and also the coach that recruited me, coach Travis Burkett made me feel welcome and very wanted…everything fell into place,” said the athlete enthusiastically while picking up his snack.

Montes shared his emotions when watching Kresovich reach his goal of playing football in a university level. “I was sad but proud seeing him go off and having seen him develop but he made me more hungry to push myself.”

Kresovich is not only an inspiration to athletes that aspire to reach stardom as a four-year university athlete, but community members alike. Kresovich wanted to reach out and say “thank you” to those that support local students that successfully balance a college workload and an elite athletic lifestyle like him.

Author: Monica Navarrete

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