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Apic came to the United States in June 2015 — for the first time, and alone — with a goal of one day playing professional basketball. Two standouts seasons drew a wave of college interest: an offer from American this summer, contact from Creighton, George Mason, Loyola, Delaware and other schools. But after a visit to Long Beach State in late February, Apic keyed on the West coast.
And that is where basketball will take him next.
“It’s a big deal, Milos,” Monson said through the phone. “You sacrificed a lot to come over to the United States for this day.”
It all started nearly 5,000 miles from Sandy Spring, Maryland, in the vintage Serbian city of Novi Sad.
Apic’s family lived just outside of it in a working-class neighborhood. His father, now retired, worked for years at a Russian oil company. His mother still logs long hours at a local bank. Apic watched them build a foundation from the ground up and idolized his older brother Goran, a 6-foot-6 basketball player who played professionally in Serbia.
Goran’s career was cut short by injuries, but it gave Apic an idea. He had long arms, was growing fast and had a knack for throwing the ball through the hoop. As he got older, and reached 6-foot-6 by the start of high school, he woke up at 5 a.m. every day to polish his shot before school.
No gyms were open that early, so Apic tiptoed through dawn and hoisted jumpers at the park near his house. By the time the sun fully revealed itself, he was already showering off sweat.
“We were not rich family at all, and I thought, with basketball, one day I could take care of them,” Apic said. “I didn’t want them to have to worry about me, and I wanted to return everything to them. That was my goal. That is why I came here.”
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Photo by Jesse Dougherty / The Washington Post