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School First, Basketball a Close Second

by Erin Owens '15  

Image of Belma Mekic

According to Head Basketball Coach Dina Henry, no matter how proud she is of Belma Mekic ’13, she will miss her when Mekic graduates. Mekic really is a “special person,” Henry says. “Her passion for basketball is just unbelievable. That carries over into her passion for life and everything that she does.”

Henry first learned about Mekic from Megan Shelley Dapp ’05, who coached Mekic at Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, Pa. Although other colleges were recruiting Mekic, once she visited Dickinson to explore the campus and the basketball program, she committed. She says that she was drawn to Dickinson and the liberal arts first because she wanted to receive a good education and then because of her love of basketball. Mekic is pursuing an international business & management major, an economics minor and a health-studies certificate. Although she admits that she has a heavy workload, the positive and hardworking senior from Sarajevo, Bosnia, is committed to both her academic and extracurricular experience at Dickinson.

Mekic and her family moved from Sarajevo to Camp Hill when she was nine. “We came here after the Baltic War to start a new and fresh life,” she says, noting that her family is close. They even continue to speak Bosnian at home so that Mekic and her younger brother will not forget their native language.

Playing basketball since only seventh grade, Mekic admits that while she was growing up in Bosnia, she knew all about soccer and next to nothing about basketball. When she was faced with the decision between learning how to play basketball or, like her friends and family, playing soccer, she chose basketball because it seemed to just come naturally to her. She figured the best plan was to “stick with it and hope that it would get even better.”

Her perseverance has paid off. In February, Mekic was named to the 2013 All-Centennial Conference Women’s Basketball Team. This season, Mekic led the Red Devils in scoring with an average of 13.5 points per game; her record includes 155 rebounds and 55 steals. In her senior season, Mekic also led her team to several exhilarating victories, most notably in the win over Washington College. With just two seconds remaining in the game, Mekic’s free throws pulled the Red Devils ahead for a 56-55 victory. Looking back on that moment, Mekic admits she was nervous, but “once I started doing my routine and focused in on it, I completely blocked out everything else and just hoped it went in,” she says. “It was unreal.”

Mekic was chosen as captain by her teammates this season. Her friendly and positive personality is one characteristic that makes Mekic stand out, but she also displays her leadership in more ways beyond her talents on the basketball court, Henry says. Some of the most significant of those qualities are her work ethic, her support for her teammates and her ability to make connections.

When the senior guard was asked to explain the most important skill in balancing the life of a basketball player and student, she promptly responded: “time management and knowing your priorities.” It’s imperative, she says, to learn how to manage basketball between your academics. School comes first. Basketball does, however, quickly follow.

After Mekic graduates, she will begin working as a financial analyst at Foot Locker Inc., where she plans to use her work experience to continue her study of international business. “I’m very ecstatic and now I’m just looking forward to finishing strong with my last semester at Dickinson,” she says. “I am very thankful that everything lined up so well.”

Published March 12, 2013