If twins Blaz and Ivan Bozinovic continue to improve like they have, even TRU WolfPack head coach Scott Clark will be able to tell them apart.
The Bozinovic boys have been steadily getting better in their first seasons of Canada West basketball with the WolfPack, which is off to Langley to play the Trinity Western Spartans on Friday and Saturday.
As with any set of twins, it can be hard to discern between the two, which is why Blaz had his hair trimmed earlier this week.
That way, Clark won’t confuse the two — or use their joined nickname, Blivan, which is a combination of their first names.
“The coach doesn’t know who’s who, so he calls us both Blivan,” Blaz said. “I have a buzz-cut now, so hopefully he knows who’s who.”
Clark recruited the twins out of the St. Ann’s Crusaders, a single-A program, knowing he had a lot of work to do.
But Clark also had a lot with which to work, considering the 18-year-old twins both stand 6-foot-10 and are eager to learn. It has been a process for the second-year coach, as the raw rookies are starting to round into form.
Clark slowly worked the twins into the lineup, but gave them their first real action in a 78-54 loss to the visiting UBC Thunderbirds on Jan. 14. Blaz played 18 minutes, while Ivan played seven, before being ejected for an unsportsmanlike foul.
“They’ve come an awful long way,” Clark said at the time. “They’re coming from a disadvantaged background, in terms of playing single-A basketball . . . so they’ve got some things to overcome.
“Both of them come each and every day, they put an effort forward, they do what’s required and I think they’re getting to a point right now where we’re starting to see some dividends.”
Clark must believe what he’s saying, because the Bozinovics are playing more now than ever.
Ivan has played eight games this season, and played a season-high 16 minutes in a 92-55 loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon on Saturday. Blaz, who broke his left arm in practice on Oct. 31, has played in five games, and started in Saskatoon and played a career-high 24 minutes.
Going from single-A hoops to the CIS is a pretty big leap.
“I was a little surprised at how fast it is and how strong the other big guys in the league are,” offered Ivan.
“The physical play, the bodies down low,” agreed Blaz. “You have to be angry out there . . . you have to hate everyone.”
A lot of the time, Clark simply subs one brother in for the other, meaning opponents will have to watch one 6-foot-10 Bozinovic walk off the court before the other 6-foot-10 Bozinovic walks onto it.
And you can be sure that the Bozinovic walking onto the court is trying to do better than the other one.
“We don’t have much of a rivalry this season, because we don’t play that much,” Ivan said. “But we have a rivalry with our grades. I have way better grades than he has.”
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It’s a big weekend for the WolfPack (5-9), which still has a chance to make the Canada West playoffs for the first time.
TRU is fifth in the Pacific Division, with Trinity Western (8-7) the team the WolfPack will have to pass to get into playoff position. If TRU doesn’t sweep, it won’t have a chance to make the playoffs.
The WolfPack women also are 5-9 and fifth in the Pacific, while the Spartans (8-7) are third. Those teams will play Friday and Saturday.
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The WolfPack volleyball teams are off this weekend, before they wrap up the regular season against the UBC-Okanagan Heat in Kelowna on Feb. 10-11.
The WolfPack men won’t make the playoffs, while the women have a strong chance as long as they beat the Heat.
TRU’s women (8-10) will be scoreboard-watching as the Brandon Bobcats (8-8) pay a visit to Vancouver to play the UBC Thunderbirds (15-1) and the Calgary Dinos (8-8) play host to the Spartans (12-4).
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The WolfPack volleyball team signed its second recruit for next season, Hillary Schell of the defending provincial-champion Kelowna Owls.
Schell is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter. She joins Katie Woo of the Riverside Rapids as TRU head coach Keith Lundgren’s first recruits for 2012-13.
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Simon Fraser will be the WolfPack hockey team’s opponent on Friday night.
The teams will play a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League game at Memorial Arena at 8:30. TRU and SFU have played in the past two BCIHL championship games, with SFU winning both.
It’s the WolfPack’s last home game until Feb. 24.
TRU’s Cody Rose has been named the BCIHL’s defenceman of the month. The 23-year-old Midway native had six points in four games.
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Kindra Maricle of Kamloops has signed with the WolfPack women’s soccer team.
Maricle, a Valleyview Vikings midfielder, played for Thompson-Okanagan Football Club and the Kamloops Blaze U18 team last season.
Maricle was a ball girl at TRU games while going through the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association.
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TRU’s men’s soccer team has announced the dates for its spring evaluation camp.
The camp is scheduled for April 14-15 at Hillside Stadium. It will help WolfPack co-head coaches John Antulov and Sean Wallace look at prospects for the 2012 Pacific West Athletic Association season.
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The WolfPack badminton team finished fifth in its final tournament of the PacWest season, held on the weekend at New Westminster.
TRU is ranked fourth in the conference heading into the provincial championship, to which it will play host from Feb. 18-19.