Sitting Courtside with Niko Trifunovic

Owen Hendricks and Myles Nowak

Seattle Prep senior, Niko Trifunovic, has been an instrumental player on the Varsity Boys Basketball team for all four years of his high school career. Since his first game, the Seattle Prep crowd has known his name and cheered him on as he competes and performs. Trifunovic’s impact on and off the court has been fundamental in keeping the team’s performance at a consistent high each season. As Niko looks to his future in basketball, we were given the opportunity to interview him on his plans and aspirations.


Do you have a pregame ritual that you do before every game?

There is nothing outlandish or special that I do before every game. But I like to joke around and dance with my teammates in the locker room. I like to keep the mood light and just realize that we are all about to go on the court and have fun. I like to remember the real reason of why we all play hoops, and that is to enjoy ourselves and compete. But when game time comes closer I like to have some quiet time to myself. To dribble around and just think about the upcoming game and calm the nerves.

Is there any significance to your jersey number?

I have worn the number 4 all of high school. This was my second choice, but a good one I believe. I wanted to wear the number 9 but players are not allowed to wear that in high school basketball. But I then chose 4 because my favorite player, Milos Teodosic, from Serbia wears number 4. I had always watched him growing up and tried to model my game after him with great court vision and outside shot and he had always been a hero in Serbian basketball. That is why I chose 4.


What’s the most memorable memory you have during your Highschool career?

I have many memorable basketball moments in my time at Prep. Many were in practice, just laughing and enjoying the company of teammates and coaches. But some others were playing in the Tacoma Dome twice in front of so many people and the same tournament that I had grew up watching for so long. Along with playing at the Dome, I will always remember big wins such as over Garfield last year who was ranked fifth or higher in the nation and over Rainier Beach twice. Also, just playing against great players such as Lonzo Ball and Michael Porter


With college just around the corner which colleges and programs are you interested in and which ones have reached out to you?

Many programs had reached out to me over my high school career. From all divisions and corners of the country. But I wanted to find a school where I could receive an excellent education first and be able to play basketball as well. That is why I chose to attend and play basketball next year at Whitman College which will give me the opportunity to receive a very valuable degree and play hoops as well.


Who’s been your biggest role model in your basketball career?

My biggest role model and guide in my basketball career has been my Dad. He has always been in the gym with me and shared the same passion for the sport as me. He himself played professional basketball in Yugoslavia before coming to the states to play for Gonzaga University. With his experience he has been able to teach me countless lessons about the sport and working hard for what you want.

What are your future goals and aspirations in basketball?

My goals and aspirations in basketball is to play collegiately and then hopefully play pro in Europe in somewhere like Spain. But in the big picture, I hope for basketball to open new doors and places to me. To have a small orange ball take me all over the world. To understand different cultures, learn new languages and discover other corners of the world.