College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Athlete of the Week: Luka Cuk

An exclusive interview with Luka Cuk whose performance on the men’s basketball team earned him a spot for Athlete of the Week.
Photo provided by COD Athletics.

Name: Luka Cuk

Sport: Men’s Basketball

Position: Center

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Serbia

High School: Rocky Bayou Christian


Lily Goodfellow: When did you start playing basketball?

Luka Cuk: When I was six I started playing, but I didn’t take it seriously. I was just messing around. Then when I was fourteen, that’s when I took it seriously.


LG: When did you move here from Serbia, and how did you end up playing for COD?

LC: I came here in August 2021, and I landed in Florida. That’s when I was in high school. I got my education from Rocky Bayou Christian, but I did not play for them. I played for Florida Coastal Prep [Sports Academy]. They had a high school program, and I played for their high school team, but I was just getting the education from that high school. 

I got injured at the beginning of the year. I half-tore my ACL. So I was not playing, and I had to get back in shape quickly. Thanks to my genetics, instead of being out for six months, I was out for about a month. So I came back, started practicing mobility and a lot of stuff that I didn’t do before. I had to go from 350 pounds to 220. That was really hard. I didn’t get any offers [to play college basketball] because of that. I ended up at Parkland, but I didn’t play and was not used. The coach was good, but it wasn’t a good experience. I was going through a lot and was not educated with what credits are. We don’t have those in Serbia, we just do classes for a certain amount of time. 

While I was still at Parkland, we played against a prep school that had a Greek coach. I speak Serbian, Greek and English fluently. The coach came up to me and was trying to speak Serbian, but then I just spoke to him in Greek. He gave me his card and after a while, I texted him and told him I didn’t know where to go and asked him to help me. He gave me the contact information for Coach Kuhn. He saw me, and I came to visit and met Coach Garcia. They gave me the offer and now I’m here. 


LG: How have your coaches helped you?

LC: They helped me by showing me how credits work, and explained to me how American classes work and how to get a degree. Plus, they were understanding of me, where I’m from and my culture. They treated me with respect. They gave me access to this whole facility that I can use, so I did extra weights before I was eligible to play. They got me in good condition. Basically, it’s a very pleasant experience because of the coaches.


LG: What is your goal after COD?

LC: My goal is to go to a high D1 [Division 1] school and play there and get a degree. Once that is done, to play professionally. There’s no dream school, but if I got to pick the place, maybe somewhere in Florida. 


LG: What do you hope to study?

LC: I’m not sure yet. I have a few interests, like computer programming, computer science, maybe animation because I know how to do that. Or coaching, because I like doing that too. I don’t know yet.


LG: What are some of the biggest obstacles you have overcome?

LC: My half-torn ACL injury. And me not being lazy and becoming disciplined to do the things I want to do and have to do. 


LG: What is your proudest moment?

LC: I don’t really have any. But one of my happiest moments was when I was playing my last year back home before I went to high school. We were playing against one of the best teams in the country. I don’t remember the number of points I had, but it was a really hard team to beat and we won.


LG: What do you miss most about Serbia?

LC: The food, the people and the basketball I played over there. Because when you play in the States, not everyone is educated about basketball the same way as back home. Here, most people don’t know what the fundamentals are. They just watch highlights and play, but really don’t know what they’re doing. 


LG: What do you like most about living in the United States?

LC: Having the privilege to play on a great court every day. To have unlimited time to use the court and the weights, and even sometimes the pool. To basically have everything I need and want in one place. I have met a lot of kind people who are generous enough to help me.


LG: What is your favorite class right now?

LC: Speech. Not because it’s easy, but because the teacher is engaging with us. He engages with us and likes what he does, so because of that, we also like the class as well.


LG: What is your favorite food?

LC: You won’t know what this is, but it’s called karadjordjeva. It’s basically either chicken or beef and cheese. You roll the chicken or beef around the cheese and it looks like a log or tube. Around that, I don’t know what my mom puts, but it’s fried. That is my favorite.


LG: What one word best describes you?

LC: Son. My parents are back home, but they support me as much as they can. I am of course here to get a bachelor’s degree, but the whole point is to work hard and go play in the NBA to make money and send them money so they don’t have to worry. In a way, it’s like winning the lottery, but you can work for it so it’s not luck. 


LG: Thank you, Luka!

LC: No problem.

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