Rok Korelc loves Dallas, though he is from Slovenia.
He didn’t just pick the city blindly off a map and fall in love with it, however. He actually has some personal connections to the place.
And now that he’s playing basketball for the Weatherford College Coyotes, the 6-foot-7-inch freshman forward is hoping to someday make it a little farther down the road and, maybe, say hello to an old friend.
Korelc and Dallas Mavericks rookie sensation Luka Doncic were teammates several years ago while playing club ball back in Slovenia.
“We played together for two seasons, and then he went to Spain,” Korelc said. “We were recruited and signed at the age of 12. We won many tournaments. We were second in the country.
“We had a lot of fun playing together. I’m very proud of him. He’s an inspiration to me. Slovenia is a small country, so when we have someone make it on the big stage, the whole country is proud of them.”
Korelc has his own dreams of playing professionally someday, be it the NBA or returning overseas. He came to America to play college ball because he felt it would create more opportunities, plus he remembers watching college games on TV back home and wishing he could be a part of that action.
“I would watch Duke, Kentucky, and it was so exciting. I also love the way America combines playing and education,” he said. “Back home you play for club teams.”
Korelc had been to America only once before coming to Weatherford College. But that one visit was enough to add to his passion for wanting to play in the U.S.
“I’d been to Florida and Atlanta to play in 2016,” he said. “I’ve wanted to come to America since my freshman year in high school.”
He’s also thrilled to be here because he’s as close as he’s ever been to his favorite professional football team, the Dallas Cowboys.
“I fell in love with American football four or five years ago,” he recalled. “The first game I saw on TV was the Cowboys, with Tony Romo at quarterback, Jason Witten was great, DeMarco Murray was having a great season.”
And, as he still never misses a game, he’s always analyzing, as most fans do.
“I’m always going to be a Cowboys fan, but I think Dak (Prescott, quarterback) has to pick up his game,” he said.
Korelc admits he sometimes wonders what he might have done had American football offered more in Slovenia as he was growing up. He said he’d probably still play basketball, the sport he loves most, but he would also have liked to at least try football.
“I would have liked to give it a try, maybe as a tight end, but I didn’t get that chance, so we’ll never know,” he said. “But I’ve played basketball since I was 5, and I love it.”
Korelc is majoring in business. He said no matter where his career takes him, he wants to know how to manage his finances well.
“I read the news. I try to be informed as much as possible. I’m not just focused on basketball,” he said. “My mom always said you don’t know what the future holds, so education is important.
“My family is really proud of me. My goal was to come here to play and study. They’re really supportive of all I want to do, and I want to do a lot.”
That includes finding his way down the road to, perhaps, say “Hi” to his old friend.
“That would be great,” Korelc said. “For now I’ll just watch him and be proud.”