Nikola Kecman has not seen the tape, thank you very much.
After opening the 2008-09 season on the shelf while he sat out a 12-game NCAA suspension related to his time spent playing in native Serbia, the forward for the Ohio State men’s basketball team was activated in time to accompany the Buckeyes on a road trip to face Michigan State.
He saw no action in the game, instead making his OSU debut three nights later in a home contest against non-conference patsy Houston Baptist. In 11 minutes of action, Kecman scored six points and added five rebounds.
Three days later, his season was already over. Kecman suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and faced a date with a surgeon. He has not watched the film from his lone game of action.
Now, nearly five months later, Kecman is back practicing with the team and preparing for what he hopes will be a full season this time around.
“I’m doing my best to prepare myself to get back healthy and ready for the next season,” he said. “I’ll do everything the coaches ask of me. Whatever my role will be, I’ll do my best.”
Listed at 6-8, 220 pounds in the last press release of the season, Kecman said he returned to live action about three weeks ago. The Buckeyes have been going through their spring skill sessions that commenced during the last week.
Kecman said he should be fully healthy and ready to take part in everything by the end of July. There has not yet been much talk about what areas the coaches want him to work on, Kecman said, because for now the focus is simply on getting back into basketball shape.
“Every day I’m working on my legs and my knee, getting it stronger and doing individual workouts, shooting and improving as much as I can,” he said. “I’m just trying to get ready for the team workouts.”
After transferring into the program from Eastern Arizona College, Kecman was viewed as a forward who could stretch opposing defenses with his outside game. It was the type of player his teammates saw throughout practice until the injury.
Now, Kecman said he is hoping to show them what kind of player he can be during actual games.
“They only saw me in practice, so I still have to prove myself in the games,” he said. “Practice and games are two different things. I still have to prove myself in a game. I think the players and coaches know my qualities and what I can do, I just have to prove myself in games and show other people what I can do and what ways I can help Ohio State.”
While in class and on campus, Kecman said he would be recognized as a basketball player solely due to his height and not anything else.
Kecman said he has suffered similar injuries before and has learned how to move past them mentally, adding that this most recent malady is nothing he can not handle.
Despite the suspension and the injury, Kecman said his year as a Buckeye was a positive one.
“I had a great year in school,” he said. “I can’t say anything about basketball. In practice everything was great. I had really good relationships with the coaches and all my teammates are great. The whole staff is great. I don’t see one person here that I don’t get along with that wouldn’t help me. Everybody at Ohio State basketball is great.”