Serbian Surprise: Hatis star Vulic busts a move for Armenia’s revived women’s basketball

A Serb basketball player has won the affection of Armenian fans after last week’s victorious game of her local club against visitors from Russia in the Women’s Basketball Euro League in which she made a crucial contribution.

Bojana Vulic, a forward-center for Hatis, has a contract with the revitalized Yerevan club until the end of Euro League’s preliminaries, but is certain to consider it extended if her club manages to progress to the next stage of the prestigious pan-European tournament.

With impressive basketball parameters (she stands 5’-10” and weighs 171 pounds), Vulic struck the local crowd not only with her good performance, but also with her attitude to “celebrate the victory” and get fun out of it. Many still remember how after the final whistle signaling the first-ever international win of the Yerevan club since the return to active basketball after nearly a 20-year interval, Vulic burst into a dance on the basketball court.

In an interview with ArmeniaNow, Vulic told about her passion of dancing and that she spends all her free time in Yerevan at discotheques. Besides, she said, she likes taking a walk around the city (she came last month and for now the club’s administration rents a suite in one of central Yerevan’s hotels for her).

Of what she has seen in Yerevan so far Vulic, 25, likes best the singing fountains (which her native Belgrade doesn’t have) and numerous open-air cafes (which Belgrade does have, but not in such big quantity).

At home in Belgrade keeping their fingers crossed for Vulic are her parents and brother. The athlete has become a favorite of male fans in Yerevan, but says she’s in no hurry to turn herself to family life.

“I am not in a hurry in this matter,” smiled Vulic, talking to ArmeniaNow in a mixture of Russian, Serbian and English. “And the one I will surrender my heart to shouldn’t necessarily be a basketball player or an athlete.”

“I find life comfortable and calm in Armenia. With their hot temper Armenians remind me very much of Serbs. As for the Armenian cuisine, of all dishes I so far like shashlyk (barbecue). I am used to oriental cuisine, as before coming to Armenia I spent two years playing for university teams in Turkey, so I know the culinary tastes of the Orient,” said Vulic.

Vulic’s teammates at Hatis immediately picked her as their captain. She has responded by being a leader in Hatis in scoring. Her 16.5 points per game average in FIBA (International Basketball Federation) is second only to Hatis’ Maurita Reid’s (of Jamaica) 17.5. Vulic is averaging 8 rebounds per game. (Ganna Zarystka, of Ukraine, a 5’9” forward, leads Hatis in boards, with 10.5 per game.)

The Hatis squad also know her as a joker who keeps the team loose, even by making the (all-male Armenian) coaching staff victims of her practical jokes.

By nature Vulic is a “live wire”, she likes jokes and fun. As her teammates say, she has skills of a good actress and she can make a good parody not only at her friends and rivals, but also at Hatis coaches and get away with it, because she does it without any malice, so no one even thinks of taking offense.
Vulic is on good terms with all players at Hatis, but she is especially close with one recently recruited newcomer whose name she doesn’t give yet.

“I won’t tell my closest friend’s name. The coaches will publish it after our upcoming game against Besiktas,” said Vulic.

So now Armenian fans hope that Vulic and company will play as well against Besiktas JK in Turkey on November 26 as they did last week against Russia’s Chevakata, and bring another victory for Armenian basketball.

Hatis, the strongest Armenian club (big in the Soviet times and even won the USSR Cup in 1988), is playing a six-game schedule in the Euro League. Home games are held in the Mika Sports Hall, a 1,160-seat gym from the Soviet era that was sold out for last week’s game at 2,000 drams (about $5) a ticket.

“We do have a chance to score a victory (in Turkey). I played in Turkey and know the weak points of Turkish teams,” the forward-center said.

Hatis are scheduled to leave for Turkey on Wednesday.