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Kresimir Cosic, Croatia
From Wikipedia.com: He was the first foreign player to earn All-American honors from the United Press International, garnering them in 1972 and 1973. After his college career, he rejected several professional offers and returned home to Yugoslavia. Ćosić played in four Olympic Games: 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 in Moscow when he led his team to the gold medal. He previously led Yugoslavia to a pair of World Championship gold medals in 1970 and 1978. Following his playing days, he turned to coaching, and led the former Yugoslav team to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Ćosić became only the third international player ever elected to the world's Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball. In the years following basketball he worked in the USA as a Croatian diplomat at the Embassy in Washington, D.C. Ćosić died in 1995 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
From HoopHall.com: A hero on and off the court in his native homeland of Croatia, Kresimir Cosic's decision to attend Brigham Young University paved the way for international basketball players to come to America to hone their basketball skills at the collegiate level. Cosic, a 6-foot-11 center who was equally effective playing near the basket and on the perimeter, enrolled at BYU in 1970 after leading the former Yugoslavia to an Olympic silver medal in 1968. He is the first foreign player to earn All-America honors. The versatile big man led BYU to the NCAA Tournament Regional Finals and two Western Athletic Conference (WAC) titles in 1971 and 1972. Cosic led the Cougars in scoring (22.3 ppg) and rebounding (13.0 rpg) in his junior year and again in scoring in his senior year (20.2 ppg). In his a three-year collegiate career, Cosic compiled 1,512 points (19.1 ppg) and grabbed the second most rebounds in BYU history (919 rebounds, 11.6 rpg). His combination of shooting skills and aggressive rebounding made him an All-America selection following his junior season and a WAC First Team All-Star in each of his three years.
After his outstanding college career, Cosic rejected several pro offers, and instead returned home to Croatia, where his career continued to catapult. He played in four Olympic Games (1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980) and guided his team to the Gold Medal in 1980. Cosic led the former Yugoslavia to a pair of World Championship gold medals in 1970 and 1978. A seven-time First-Team All European selection, Cosic was a member of the former Yugoslavian team that won three European titles. Following his playing days, Cosic turned his talents to coaching, and led the former Yugoslavian team to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. A member of the BYU Hall of Fame, Cosic's years of hard work and commitment to his native land were rewarded with the presentation of the Freedom Award. The Award was presented to recognize Cosic's outstanding contributions to the principles of democracy and freedom. In the years following basketball, Cosic worked in the Croatian Embassy in Washington, D.C. On May 25, 1995, after a year-long battle with a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Cosic passed away. He was 46.
Name: Kresimir Cosic
Born: November 26, 1948
Status: Deceased, May 25, 1995 from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
Origin: Zagreb, Croatia (but raised in Zadar, Yugoslavia)
Schools: Brigham Young University (1971-73)
Drafted: Portland Trailblazers (1972), Los Angeles Lakers (1973), the ABA's Carolina Cougars (1973), and Boston Celtics (1976)
Languages: English, Croatian
Teams (jersey): Brigham Young University (1971-73), KK Zadar (1964-69, 1973-75), KK Cibona (1980-83), Virtus Bologna
Ibn Notes: The 6-foot-11-inch Cosic played center for B.Y.U. from 1971 to 1973, earning all-Western Athletic Conference selection each season and pacing B.Y.U. to two conference titles. He averaged 19.1 points a game while in college. After leaving Brigham Young, he was drafted by the NBA several times and once by the ABA (Cosic was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in 1972 (10th round); then by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1973 (5th Round) as well as the ABA's Carolina Cougars; and lastly by the Boston Celtics in 1976) but Kresimir chose to return to Yugoslavia, where he was a national hero as a player and later, as a coach. Kresimir Cosic was a four-time Olympian, leading Yugoslavia to a silver medal in 1968 (Mexico City) and a gold medal in 1980 (Moscow). Ibn Facts: In 1991, FIBA named Kresimir Cosic as one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players with the likes of other international basketball legends Arvydas Sabonis, Nikos Galis, Dino Meneghin, Juan Antonio Corbalan, Oscar Schmidt, Teo Cruz, Sergei Belov, Drazen Petrovic, Modestas Paulauskas, Toni Kukoc, Andrew Gaze, and Vlade Divac among others... the list was determined by a group of international experts and coaches.
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