Basketball journey sends Beca toward college

May. 29, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

Bruno Beca has achieved a lot in a short time. 

His dream was to play basketball at a high level ever since he started as a middle-schooler in Croatia. 

In the years since, he has worked intensely to improve as a player, has moved to the United States to help develop his game and now has signed with NCAA Division II school St. Michael’s College to continue his career.

“It’s great,” says Beca, the son of Alen and Aida of Zagreb, Croatia, of signing. “It’s a full scholarship to a college. So, it’s excellent.”

Beca, a senior standout at Westchester Country Day School, has been on a journey much different from most area athletes. After his freshman year in Croatia, he was approached about playing basketball in the United States.

He had played club basketball in his home country and enjoyed playing with a number of talented players he knew well on some very good teams. So, for him to be approached like that was a testament to his playing ability.

“In Croatia, they asked me if I wanted to come here. I said,’Yes,’ of course, and that’s how I got here,” Beca says. “That’s when I knew I could (play at a high level), when I found out I had the ability to go to the United States.”

After reclassifying, due to his initial language barrier, he played at The Masters School in New York, then transferred to United Faith in Charlotte, where he was for his sophomore season and the first semester of his junior season.

Midway through his junior season, he transferred to Westchester and provided a solid presence inside. An ACL injury midway through his senior season limited him, but he still excelled in his short time with the program.

“For him to secure a full scholarship at St. Michael’s — great academics, great athletics — and pursue his dream, we couldn’t be happier for him,” Westchester coach Dagan Nelson says. “I believe he has great upside, and I believe his best basketball will be two years from now. 

“We wish we had him for another year because he’s just scratching the surface. But the great thing about St. Michael’s is that they have a great coaching staff that will help make him even better in all facets.”

During his recruitment, Beca played well during a Hoop Group camp in Pennsylvania over the summer that often draws hundreds of high school players and college coaches, and he was selected to the senior all-star team.

That attracted some attention, and Beca narrowed his choices to include the Purple Knights and head coach Michael Harding and a junior college in Florida. He chose St. Michael’s, which competes in the tough Northeast-10 Conference.

“The coaches there,” says Beca, who is leaning toward studying physics, of what solidified his choice. “I really like the head coach and the assistant coach. Also, when I visited, I really liked it.”

“It feels great. It feels really good. I want to play there four years and get even better as a basketball player. Hopefully find something to major in, and then I want to play professionally, either here or in Europe.”