ATHENS -- For the past four years, Nemanja Djurisic’s parents could not attend their son’s games.
They were forced to stay up late and catch the games on the television in Djurisic’s homeland of Montenegro while Stegeman Coliseum cheered on their son. After playing his high school ball at a prep school in Connecticut, Djurisic stayed in the United States and committed to Georgia.
After taking three connecting flights to Atlanta, Djurisic’s parents were in Athens for the first time and saw their son put up 14 points and five rebounds in a Georgia win over Missouri on Saturday. They will also be in attendance for senior night and their son’s final regular-season home game when Georgia plays No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday.
“I am just excited for them to be feeling what I have felt for the past four years,” Djurisic said.
When you look at his numbers, the senior power forward has had a productive career. His scoring average has gone up with each season, his minutes have increased, and he has played in every game in four years.
He has been a noticeable face on the Bulldogs’ team for a long time but doesn’t get much recognition within the SEC or nationally.
“He’s just not flashy,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “He just has kind of an old, fundamental game. He can pivot, he can pass, he can score the basketball, and he makes the right plays. It’s not flashy, but it’s certainly been very effective.
“So I would say he might be underappreaciated.”
His coach is right when he says Djurisic is not flashy, but Djurisic is having the best season of his career. The senior has the ability to play inside, hit an outside shot and handle the ball. He has been one of Georgia’s most consistent players and is averaging 11.1 points and five rebounds per game.
Djurisic started in all but one game this season and ranks among the top 30 in the SEC in points, rebounds and blocked shots per game, free-throw percentage (71.6) and 3-point percentage (34.9).
Since the team dropped back-to-back games against South Carolina and Auburn, Djurisic has averaged 15 points and six rebounds in the Bulldogs’ past three wins.
“(Djurisic) and Marcus (Thornton) are playing like seniors,” Fox said. “Nemi got us off to great starts, and Marcus gave us a great finish. Nemi, for the most part, has been a very consistent player this year and really played with the poise that has kind of been contagious to the rest of our guys.”
Djurisic has been part of a winning team the past two seasons, but that wasn’t the case his first two years when he was part of two 15-17 seasons. He said that he was lost being so far away from home in his first year but was able to find his role and game during that time.
But now it feels like he is playing for something.
“Especially the last two years we were great, and when you win, everything else is easier,” Djurisic said. “Everything is better. You feel like you are accomplishing something. When you get to that level, it makes a big difference.”
With two regular-season games remaining, Djurisic and the Bulldogs are in a good spot for the NCAA tournament and have a chance to end Kentucky’s undefeated run.
“Some struggles, some success and just a lot of good things that happened here,” Djurisic said. “I fell in love here, met a lot of great people and great friends, great coaching staff. I grew up and definitely educated myself.”