Although she is a long way from home, Bojana “Boki” Dimitrov is doing just fine here in the United States. Dimitrov is a senior who never runs out of spirit on or off of the hardwood floors. Boki is helping the transition into the new Bob Boldon Era. She has a passion for life that few student athletes possess and one of the best personalities of anyone I have ever interviewed. She remembers where she came from, knows where she is at, and envisions where she wants to get to. I recently interviewed Boki about the losing streak, the new and old coaches, and just why chicken wings are so good to her.
Paneech: How big of a deal is basketball in Serbia where you grew up?
Dimitrov: Oh yeah, it is a big deal. I started practicing when I was only eleven years old and went to basketball camps when I was away from home, sometimes for months, it was very tough.
Paneech: If you weren’t playing basketball, is there another sport that you might have tried to play?
Dimitrov: Actually, I like tennis. I am a big tennis fan and there are some very good Serbian tennis players. Also soccer, I don’t like it all that much, but I am very good at soccer. I didn’t have any Barbie’s as toys growing up. My favorite first toy was a soccer ball and after that, I got a basketball. I don’t remember why, but I dedicated myself to the sport of basketball.
Paneech: How often do you talk with the people back home?
Dimitrov: Everyday. God bless the internet and Skype because it allows me to communicate with them every single day. Every Summer I go back for two or three months and last Summer was just the best Summer ever. This is my last year of college basketball, I would like nothing more than my mom being able to come here for my Senior Night. That would be great and we are still talking about that.
Paneech: What are you studying here at Youngstown State and what plans do you have for the future?
Dimitrov: I am majoring in Sociology and will have a minor in Psychology. Right now I am applying for some grad schools for Clinical Psych where hopefully I can get my Masters and maybe my PHD too. When I get done I will go home to visit, but I think I will live here. maybe not in Youngstown, but possibly Cleveland or Pittsburgh. I am 24 years old and it may not be the most popular decision with my family, but they do support me so much.
Paneech: How does a girl from Serbia end up playing basketball in Youngstown, Ohio?
Dimitrov: I played at a junior college in Oklahoma and a lot of schools were recruiting me. Last year, Coach Martin and Coach Scott were very consistent in recruiting me and came to watch a few of my games. They would call every week. I signed before I even visited the school. In some ways it was tough because we had a bad year. I think we are improving this year and I am glad to be a part of that. I was recruited to Oklahoma, even though I didn’t know what Oklahoma really was (laughs) I ended up there.
Paneech: Being in the U.S. for six years now, what are the major culture changes you deal with?
Dimitrov: The language was a big thing. I had a tough first year learning all of the proper English. At first I could understand everything, but couldn’t say anything. People would talk loud like my IQ was low. The second thing is that Americans just like to eat and enjoy food way more than European people do — and I don’t have a problem with that. I eat healthy, but I have to have chicken wings once a week. Barbecue and garlic wings. Time management is also very different in America. Over here, time means money and in Europe there isn’t a lot of money, so time means something different. Sometimes I am still running on Serbian time and am late. It is not good to be a Division I athlete and be late.
Paneech: How are you adjusting to a new coach and what kind of coach-player relationship do you have with Coach Boldon?
Dimitrov: When we got a new coach, everything is totally different. Coach Boldon’s way is totally different than Coach Martin’s ways were last season. We don’t have a choice, we have to adjust if we want to win. I’m a senior, but in this regard, I am a freshman too. I think we are doing a good job and we are getting there.
One Word Answers
Favorite Restaurant: Olive Garden.
Favorite Winter Olympic Sport: Skiing.
Person You Want To Meet : I would like to say a few words to Bill Clinton.
Favorite TV Show: South Park.
Favorite Music: Hard Rock. Scorpions and Queen.
Animal You Are Most Like: Horse. I love horses.
Best Cartoon: The Simpsons.
Favorite NBA Team: Oklahoma Thunder.
Best American Holiday: Thanksgiving Day.
Worst Class Ever: (laughs) Environmental Science. I didn’t have a good teacher.
Best Class Ever: Social Stratification with Dr. Kiriazis.