Early in the afternoon on Saturday, Zvonimir Ivisic was finally granted eligibility by the NCAA, which led to a buzz in the air of Rupp Arena. With fans knowing that Ivisic would finally touch the court, everyone had one question; how would his debut go?
It likely went better than we all imagined. Scoring 13 points on 5/7 shooting and 3/4 from three, it was the behind-the-back pass that led to Antonio Reeves' three that really got the crowd involved. Then came the barrage of threes from the Croatian big man.
After the game, Kyle Tucker of The Athletic spoke with Tom Leach of the UK Sports Network, and the voice of the Wildcats ranked Big Z’s debut right alongside some of the loudest moments he has called at Rupp Arena.
“There’s always the debate about what’s the loudest it’s ever been at Rupp Arena, and this one might be in the conversation,” Leach said. “Probably as close as you could get to that Tayshaun Prince barrage of five straight 3s to start the game against North Carolina (in 2001). Both times, you’re seeing something that really no one would’ve ever expected to see.”
Big Z’s debut getting named alongside the Tayshaun Prince’s performance against North Carolina, should tell you all you need to know about how invested the fan base was yesterday.
Now the question becomes; will Big Z continue that level of play for the remainder of the season?
If so, there could be some more notable crowd pops at Rupp this season.