In the aftermath of having four players decide to leave his program just a couple weeks after the 2013-14 season came to an end, Monmouth head coach King Rice put the finishing touches on a solid recruiting class. One of the players in that class was 6-foot-8 forward Nikola Vujovic, a native of Serbia who attended Notre Dame Prep last year. Unfortunately for Vujovic and the basketball program, it was reported Thursday by Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press that the forward will not be a member of the program this season.
The issue, as told to Newman by Monmouth athletic director Dr. Marilyn McNeil, was that Vujovic struggled with the test that European students attempting to enroll at Monmouth have to take in order to show that they’re proficient enough in the English language to handle the coursework.
Indications are Vujovic got through the NCAA Eligibility Center with a GPA approaching 3.0.
“Yes, his admission was denied based on our standards, the metrics for international students,” McNeil said at the Charlotte Marriott Center City. “He’s gone back to Serbia. I think the opportunity for him to improve his English there is strained, but he’s a young man that doesn’t come from a wealthy family and he probably needed some more tutoring. It’s not good.”
Vujovic being denied admission drops Monmouth to 13 scholarship players in 2014-15, with that number representing the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA. Among the newcomers added to the program is Providence graduate transfer Brice Kofane, and while he didn’t play a high number of minutes as a Friar his experience can help the Hawks inside.
The Hawks, who finished their first season as a member of the MAAC with an 11-21 record (5-15 MAAC), return their top two scorers from last season in guards Deon Jones (15.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Andrew Nicholas (14.2, 3.3) with both being seniors in 2014-15. Overall, Monmouth returns its top six scorers from last season, which should serve the Hawks well as they look to move up the MAAC standings.