Nedim Hodzic’s record-breaking basketball career at the University of Waterloo is coming to an end

WATERLOO – It took two days for the reality to sink in that his spectacular basketball career at the University of Waterloo had come to an end.

Nedim Hodzic played his last game Saturday night, an eight-point loss to Lakehead Thunderwolves at the Physical Activities Complex. The Warriors had already been knocked out of the Ontario University Athletics playoffs, and for Hodzic, it almost felt like another game.

That changed on Monday.

“That last game, it really didn’t mean anything from a playoff perspective, so it was like just another game until all the seniors were on the court at the end; that was good,” said Hodzic, a six-foot-five forward from Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

“Still, I don’t think I fully realized it was over until Monday, when we didn’t have any training or a meeting. For the first time in forever, I had nothing to do in the evening.

Hodzic, 24, played 105 games for the Warriors over five seasons — 104 regular-season outings and just one playoff game — and his list of individual accomplishments is long.

He leads the regular season in points scored (1,946), rebounds (1,013), field goals (717), free throws (511), minutes played (3,374) and games started (99).

He is second in rebounds per game (9.7) and free throws per game (4.9), third in blocked shots (70), fourth in games played (104) and minutes per game (32, 4) and fifth in points per game (18.7).

His 1,013 rebounds are the fifth most in Canadian college basketball history, and his 717 field goals are eighth on the U Sports list.

Hodzic also has 396 rebounds ahead of Mike Sovran, who is second on Waterloo’s all-time list with 617 in 101 games between 2000 and 2005.

The numbers, Warriors head coach Troy Stevenson said, speak to Hodzic’s dedication to the sport.

“On the one hand, he’s a gym rat. You can always count on him being in the gym and wanting to be there before, after practice and in the morning just to work on his game,” he said.

“There’s a reason he got as good as he did. In terms of stats and individual offensive abilities, the guy is a perfectionist, to say the least.

By contrast, the Warriors have 24 wins and 78 losses since Hodzic arrived in 2016 and have only made one playoff appearance – a 101-89 loss to the Windsor Lancers in the first round of the playoffs. 2017-18.

The team’s lack of success is a small source of frustration for Hodzic, but there are no regrets about choosing Waterloo over other contenders and earning a degree in biomechanical engineering. He played his final season as a graduate student and will graduate in August with a master’s degree.

“If you had told me in my freshman year that I would only play one playoff game, I wouldn’t have believed you. There were a lot of close calls and bad luck along the way, but yeah, that part is tough,” he said.

“It was mostly about education, and while it was obviously nice to have basketball on the side, getting a degree and eventually my masters, that’s what’s really important.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t soured Hodzic’s enthusiasm for basketball, but it has made him realize that life goes on without him. He had a part-time position as a software developer during the missed season and the experience made him think twice about his previous goal of trying to find work as a professional basketball player.

“With all the stopping and going, I realized I would be fine without basketball,” he said. “I got a glimpse of how life would work in a job that was relevant to my field, and I enjoyed it.”

Hodzic won the Mike Moser Award as the Waterloo County High Schools League (WCSSAA) Most Outstanding Player in 2015 and was named the University of Waterloo’s Top Rookie in 2016-17.

The list of this year’s winners has yet to be announced, but Hodzic is already a three-time OUA all-star, former OUA All-Rookie Team member and three-time team MVP at Waterloo .

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