Area colleges: Hodzic puts pursuit of pro career on hold for country

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 10:31pm

Adnan Hodzic is confident there will be more offers — and he hopes at least one of them comes from the NBA.

But the former Lipscomb standout is prepared if they don’t come.

“I already have a couple offers from overseas even though it is still really early. So that tells me I am going to be a high-in-demand player for overseas,” Hodzic said. “I am just really open to both. I’m focused on getting better and trying to improve all the facets of the game. And I’m getting ready to have fun this summer, man. That is really all that is on my mind.

Hodzic, who is Lipscomb’s NCAA-era leading scorer with 2,002 points over the last four years, is back in Indianapolis, where his parents live. He has just two online classes left to take in order to receive his marketing degree. He is looking toward the future as he has already hired agent Jordan Brewer with Pro One Sports Management and has received interest from teams in Spain, Israel and Italy.

“To me, going over there [to Europe] and playing at a higher league is not like an alternative for me,” Hodzic said. “I would be perfectly happy with that, just as much if I went to the NBA.”

Before Hodzic possibly ventures overseas as a professional, however, he’ll travel across the world to play in the European Basketball Championship in Lithuania. Hodzic will represent his native Bosnia at the tournament, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18. The top two teams are guaranteed spots in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“Especially what my country has been through over the last several years, they are counting on me. That is a blessing, man,” Hodzic said. “That is pure love for my country and that is something I will never take for granted. It is an absolute blessing. ... Being around my family and my country’s people — that is something I am really looking forward to. It is going to be a great experience. I am really excited.”

Hodzic, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward didn’t just dominate Atlantic Sun competition during his time at Lipscomb. In 10 games over the last three years and against teams hailing from power conferences such as the SEC and ACC, he averaged 18.7 points and 7.7 rebounds. He also held the nation’s longest active streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points. He reached double digits 72 straight times as Belmont ended the feat in January.

His success at Lipscomb, a small private school, evidently resonated overseas as one of the teams in Spain’s ACB league offered him a two-week tryout. Hodzic was tempted but he would have to begin on May 1 and he was worried about how quickly he would adjust to the learning curve.  

“Absolutely it was tempting. The ACB is the highest, most prestigious overseas basketball league in the world. It is kind of unexpected because they have a reputation for being very hesitant to sign any rookie," Hodzic said. “[But] I just started back training. I took a couple weeks off after this season to rest my body and get away from it a little bit. It is a double-edged sword. I could go over there and I could do really well and word of mouth would have generated great talk about me, a lot more teams interested in me maybe. But it could also hurt me because I would have to learn a lot. I am trying to learn the FIBA game because that is what I am going to be playing this summer. I just felt like I didn’t want to go over there and have to do so much learning and not playing.”

Though Hodzic appears to be on track for a professional career, he doesn’t intend on forgetting about those who guided him — especially at Lipscomb, giving a “shout out” to head coach Scott Sanderson and the rest of the Bisons coaching staff.

“My four years there were absolutely amazing and without that community and without my four amazing coaches I wouldn’t be where I am at right now,” Hodzic said.

Vanderbilt squeezes in: The Vanderbilt women’s golf team edged Florida State in a sudden-death playoff at an NCAA East Regional over the weekend to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship.

The Commodores head to the national tournament — which takes place May 18-21 in College Station, Texas — for the second straight year and sixth time overall.

In Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday, they trailed by two strokes with three holes remaining. But Florida State’s Jessica Negron bogeyed twice. Senior Megan Grehan’s birdie in the playoff was the difference as the Commodores shot a combined (four golfers) score of even-par 16 on the last hole while Florida State combined for 17 strokes.

Sophomore Lauren Stratton, a native of Spring Hill, Tenn., led Vanderbilt with a final round of 71.

On the men’s side, redshirt junior Adam Hofmann will compete in a NCAA East Regional on May 19-21 in Radford, Va. Hofmann led the Commodores this season with a 73.3 stroke average and captured individual medalist at the Hummingbird Intercollegiate in Cashiers, N.C.

 Streaking slugger: Middle Tennessee State product Bryce Brentz is swinging a hot bat in the minor leagues right now.

Playing for the Boston Red Sox’s Single-A Greenville (S.C) Drive, Brentz extended his hitting streak to 21 games on Monday with a three-hit performance that was a triple shy of the cycle. The right fielder also reached base safely for the 30th straight game. Both streaks were the longest in the minors at the start of the week.

Brentz, who led the nation in hitting while at MTSU in 2009, leads the South Atlantic League with 44 hits and 30 runs. He also has hit seven home runs and driven in 25 RBIs to go along with a .355 batting average. The Knoxville native was drafted 36th overall by the Red Sox last year.

• Two for TSU: A pair of Tennessee State track and field athletes won individual championships at the Ohio Valley Conference meet over the weekend.

On the women’s side, senior Martinique Guice, a Beech High product, won the long jump with a leap of 6.07 meters or 19 feet and nine inches. For the men, Memphis native Arthur Combest set a personal record in the high jump with a winning mark of 2.08 meters or 6 feet, 8 inches. Teammate Jamal Henderson took third, with a leap of 2.03 meters or 6 feet, 6 inches.

The Tennessee State men placed fourth overall and the women finished seventh.

• Trevecca tops TranSouth: The Trevecca Nazarene softball team captured its second consecutive TranSouth Athletic Conference tournament championship over the weekend in Henderson, Tenn.

After four wins, the Trojans are now 46-3 and ranked No. 2 in the latest NAIA poll. The tournament started with a close 2-1 victory in 11 innings against Mid-Continent last Wednesday. But the Trojans then defeated Cumberland and knocked off Union twice, including by a score of 5-1 Friday to capture the tournament title.

Trevecca will begin the national tournament on May 19 in Gulf Shores, Ala. It will mark the program's fifth trip to the postseason in the last six years. Trevecca has reached the final eight championship round each time but has failed to win a game in the double-elimination format.