Kenan Guzonjic at a glance

Height/weight: 6-foot-8, 235 pounds.

Position: Forward.

Potential role with CU: "I fit in as a stretch four, which I believe Colorado lacked last year. When I was talking to (head coach Tad Boyle), that's what he wanted me to do, be a stretch four, play in and out, also play the three and five sometimes. I believe that's my strength, that I can fit in different positions. I believe it's really going to help the team to have a versatile player."

Notable: Guzonjic pronounces his name Ken-in Guz-on-ich. ... Guzonjic grew up in Sarajevo, Bosnia. ... His older brother, Esmir, played at North Alabama.

Three years ago, Kenan Guzonjic was at home in Sarajevo, Bosnia, when he had a chance to watch Colorado and UCLA play in basketball.

Guzonjic was hooked.

"Watching college basketball, Colorado was one of my dream schools," he said.

Today, the 6-foot-8 forward is in Boulder, preparing for his first season with the Colorado men's basketball team.

"It feels awesome," he said of becoming a Buffalo.

Growing up in post-war Bosnia, Guzonjic wasn't sure if he'd ever get an opportunity like this.

Life wasn't terrible in the post-war era after the breakup of Yugoslavia, but it wasn't easy, either.


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"It wasn't tough, but it was a lot tougher than people in other countries, just being around people that still hate each other," he said. "I think that made me appreciate things, made me humble. I didn't have a lot, so I appreciate what I've got right now."

His path to Boulder was paved by his older brother, Esmir, who graduated from Division II North Alabama in 2007.

"I was a kid when he left and I stayed and that fascinated me because he left the home and went to play basketball somewhere where nobody knows him," he said. "I started practicing more and more because I wanted to be like him. When I was 17, I had to decide if I wanted to go pro (in Bosnia) or go to school."

Guzonjic spent the 2012-13 season at Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas, and then played the 2013-14 season at Midland (Texas) Junior College.

After injuring his knee (torn meniscus and loose cartilage) before the 2014-15 season, Guzonjic decided to go back home to Bosnia and save a year of eligibility, rather than staying at Midland and wasting a year. That gave him a chance to rehab his knee, and he now has three years to play at CU.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm almost 100 percent back in shape. I'm working on that right now."

Several Division I schools recruited Guzonjic before last season, but once they found out he was sitting out the season "everybody just kind of backed off," he said.

Everybody, except Colorado. Head coach Tad Boyle and his staff maintained their interest in Guzonjic, and when sophomore Dustin Thomas announced in March that he was transferring, a scholarship opened up.

"If Dustin Thomas stays, we probably don't sign Kenan," Boyle said. "So, I think he kind of fits into that role that Dustin had. Now, whether he starts or comes off the bench, all that will come out in the wash."

For now, it's too early to tell where Guzonjic will fit into the rotation, but he's certainly getting a workout this summer in going against established veterans Josh Scott, Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson.

"It's a huge difference coming from (junior college) players," he said. "I'm still getting used to it. They're a lot tougher, a lot stronger, faster. It's the Pac-12, so I should expect that.

"They're definitely making me better."

While it's only been a few weeks since he arrived in Boulder, Guzonjic is pleased to finally be a part of the team he's dreamed about for the past few years.

"One thing I really like about the team is the atmosphere," he said. "Coming out of Bosnia and juco, where players only think individually, now I can feel a team atmosphere. They actually have a team I can play with and have fun.

"I really feel like I fit in. We've had a few practices and I really think this is the place for me."

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.