Aleksandar Cosic is 5,337 miles from any resemblance of what he calls home.
Cosic, one of the basketball team’s newest freshman recruits, hails all the way from Belgrade, Serbia, a capital city with a population of 1.35 million people. For the next four years, however, he will live in Jackson, Tennessee, a town with a population struggling to break 70,000.
Cosic began playing basketball at the age of seven. Ever since then, his life has revolved around three things: basketball, family and city-life. Having only one of those here, college has not exactly been the easiest transition for Cosic.
“I hate to be bored,” Cosic said. “Tennessee is boring, and it’s killing me. I am used to a big city. Jackson isn’t a city—where I’m from we’d call it a village.”
Even though he is still new to America, this is not Cosic’s first year in the states. After following the advice of a family friend, he moved to Atlanta his senior year of high school to play basketball for Faith Baptist Christian Academy after leading his team to second place in the Serbian high school championships back home.
According to Cosic, Jackson is much different than the cities he has previously lived in—not only because of the size but also because of the mere mentality of the people, he said.
“Everyone is super nice here, but back home people are much more relaxed,” he said. “Here, it’s like I have to schedule an appointment to hang out with my friends. Their school and jobs are their life, but back home we work so that we can live, not the other way around.”
Regardless of the fact that settling down in Jackson has not been an easy feat for Cosic, he does not regret coming to Union. In fact, he thinks very highly of the university.
“I like pretty much everything about Union—especially the basketball team,” said Cosic. “Every day I see the coaches giving their maximum effort, trying to make this the best team and the best season yet, and I think it can happen.”
Even though he is a freshman, Cosic hopes that his work during practice will earn him playing time on the court and eventually a leadership role on the team.
“I want to have a good four years of basketball,” Cosic said. “Do I want to play in the NBA? Yeah, of course. I don’t think it’s very realistic, but I’ll keep trying.”
The men’s team kicks off their season this Saturday at 6 p.m. against Rhodes College. Meanwhile, Cosic is focusing on the things that will ease his homesickness—whether it be talking to his family, traveling to cities on the weekend or just getting some fresh air.
“I have this app on my phone. It’s a countdown of the number of days until I get to go back home. It calms me down,” Cosic said. “198. That’s how many I’ve got left until my plane ticket back home.”