Of all the players who gave the final between South Florida and
Houston in the Tampa Tribune Holiday Invitational such an
international flavor -- Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Yugoslavia
were represented -- the most interesting was Radenko Dobras, a 6 ft.
7 in. sophomore guard who got to USF by way of Banja Luka,
Yugoslavia. With his long-range shooting eye and deft passing, Dobras
calls to mind the late Pistol Pete Maravich of LSU.
During a 1987 tour of Europe with the Yugoslavian Junior National
team, Dobras impressed U.S. coach Larry Brown so much that Brown,
then at Kansas, offered him a scholarship. Dobras was receptive
because he would have more time for his studies in the U.S. than in
Yugoslavia, where the emphasis on basketball is so intense that
practices often last five hours -- after which Dobras would sharpen
his touch by taking as many as 500 shots.
Dobras was ready to accept Brown's offer until Brown left Kansas
for San Antonio of the NBA. A South Florida professor, Doug Hatch,
heard from a friend in Europe that Dobras might consider another
school. Hatch passed the tip on to the Bulls' basketball staff, which
sold Dobras on the idea of a warmer climate. It also didn't hurt that
one of his childhood friends attends Florida Institute of Technology,
127 miles away in Melbourne.
Coach Bobby Paschal discovered early that Dobras is a tireless
worker. ''A perfect example was when we were doing sit-ups during one
of our workouts,'' says Paschal. ''He did 818 without a break. I had
never seen anything like that.''
As a freshman point guard, Dobras led the Sun Belt Conference in
steals with 56 and scored 16.2 points per game, mainly by shooting
43.5% from three-point range. Paschal has switched him to shooting
guard this season, a position more to his liking, and Dobras has
helped USF get off to a solid 6-3 start.
He has been in a shooting slump, however, converting only 23.4% of
his three-point attempts through Sunday. In a 78-72 loss to Florida
State, Dobras was a nightmarish 1 for 11 from that range.
''I'm never satisfied with my game,'' says Dobras, whose English
has improved even more rapidly than his game. ''Whether I play good
or bad, I can always play better.''
This is an article from the Jan. 8, 1989 issue