Kendal Santiago, Staff Writer
Agim Hamiti, who most refer to as “Iggy,” is an international student and basketball player here at Utica College. At the age of 9, Agim discovered his passion for playing basketball. At the ages of 17 and 18, Agim helped lead his city of Prishtina to becoming league champions of the country, Kosova. That’s right, Agim is a two-time championship winner.
“My brother was playing and I saw he was having fun, so I joined. As I was growing up it got more competitive and I started liking it more,” Hamiti said. “I was between soccer and basketball, but basketball fits more with me…You got to be mentally and physically prepared.”
After graduating high school in Kosova, Hamiti came to America. He attended the Academy of Science in Syracuse where he played basketball for a year before starting his college journey as a college ball player at Utica College.
Sean Coffey, the men’s basketball head coach, had a lot of positive things to say about Agim as a team player. “Agim brings energy to everything he does on the floor in a positive way. Sometimes we need to slow him down a bit because his energy level is so high,” Coffey said.
While Agim may be most known for his talents on the court, there are people on the Utica College campus who have come to know him for much more than his basketball skills.
Professor of English and mentor to UC’s basketball team, John Cormican, has built a unique bond with Agim over the past year.
After the previous basketball coach asked Cormican to “take Agim under his wing,” Cormican began talking to Agim regularly. He played the role of his unofficial mentor until this semester when Sean Coffey asked Cormican to be the mentor of the entire team.
“He’s a good kid…he’s very outgoing and charming,” Cormican said. “I think he will serve as a good role model in terms of work ethic for the freshmen.”
Hamiti’s coach would definitely agree with Cormican. “His approach to individual workouts, practice, lifts and games along with his welcoming and easy going personality make him a tremendous role model for the younger guys,” Coffey said.
Being that this is Hamiti’s senior year, he is doing his best to help his younger teammates and devote his all to his final year as a student and Pioneer.
“Iggy’s a very versatile player. He can do a little bit of everything,” said junior Ivan Iton, both teammate and close friend to Hamiti. “He showed me the ropes and helped me adjust to a new coach with new people and a new style of play.”
“I’ll definitely try to lead them towards a successful season,” Agim said. “I will give everything I have.”
Overall, Hamiti appears to be a hard-working, energetic and kind person. “I get along with everyone,” he said.
“After you get to know him, when you see him you’re always going to smile,” said Ivan.
Hamiti is trying to decide what his steps after Utica College will be. “If I stay here in the U.S. I’ll probably start working, but if I go back home I’ll play basketball with the pro teams.”
“Agim, being an international student, has a very interesting opportunity…he has a great opportunity to play professionally in his native land…While most seniors know that there is a definite end to their careers in the near future, Agim’s is just beginning,” Coach Coffey said.
While Hamiti is not sure where his life journey will take him after college, he is sure of one thing: “I’ll never forget it.”
Of all the things Hamiti experienced at Utica College, he says he will remember the relationships he built the most. “I’ll remember the people and the professors that helped me.”