One Lincoln Patriot's Shot at Success
by Max Jensen
March 13, 2013 10:32 PM
Nermin Krdzalic led his Lincoln Patriots to the State Tournamnet, but his basketball career blossomed at a young age, thanks to a program provided by the YMCA.
It's every basketball player's dream from a young age, as time runs out and the buzzer sounds, you hit the game winning shot.
Nermin Krdzalic made that shot and his Lincoln Patriots are playing for a state title. But Nermin has come a long way from his native home just to play on the hardwood.
Nermin Krdzalic says, "When we were in Bosnia, because of the war going on so I couldn't really pick up a basketball because there wasn't one."
Nermin is now on the varsity squad for the Pats, but his path to the starting lineup was paved by the YMCA. Nermin's family couldn't afford for him to play on an organized basketball team. But one day as Nermin was playing at the Sioux Falls YMCA, he met John Archer.
John Archer says, "There was this one young fourth grade boy over there by himself shooting baskets and we were practicing and half way through he comes over to me, this is a fourth grader, and introduces himself and asks if he can play on our team."
Archer told him to bring his mom back the next day and they could work something out.
Archer says, "Sure enough, shows up at our practice with his mother and at that point we had to make it work."
Krdzalic says, "He basically made me the basketball player I am today."
Nermin became part of a team for the first time. And thanks in large part to the Y's Strong Kids Campaign, Nermin is now a key player for the Patriots.
Krdzalic says, "Luckily, John Archer, my coach, gave me a chance."
The Strong Kids campaign is in it's eighth year. The money raised is used for educational scholarships; scholarships that are used for day camps, basketball and aquatic programs at the YMCA.
Mark Wahstrom, YMCA Strong Kids, says, "The goal is to put them in a positive situation. Many of these children would not be able to participate without the help of these scholarship funds."
The program has raised one point three million dollars; and the goal this year is to raise 250 thousand to offer to another child who could be the next buzzer beater like Nermin.
Wahlstrom says, "From a fourth grader who was looking to play basketball with somebody to a starting player with the Lincoln High School basketball team, how many more of thos youth are out there that we can transform into that sort of person for the future and that's what we are trying to do."
Campaigning to provide more opportunities for future athletes, leading them to bigger and better things.