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By Chase Lynn, Dubuque Senior junior
DUBUQUE – In the spring of 2011, basketball player Domen Zevnik was welcomed to the city of Dubuque and Senior High School.
Zevnik, who has lived with the family of Senior basketball player Luke McDonnell, led the Rams to the boys’ state basketball tournament last winter, along with McDonnell.
Zevnik, however, was forced to leave Senior because of a foreign exchange rule and now plays for Senior’s rival – Wahlert.
Zevnik is adjusting to the change and making the best out of it.
“I just want to make the best out of my senior year and enjoy possibly my last year in Dubuque,” Zevnik said.
McDonnell also has had to adjust to not playing with Zevnik and going to school with him.
“I miss seeing him in the halls and playing with him,” McDonnell said.
Having to deal with the change the most is McDonnell’s parents Mark and Deb.
“We will try to make every one of Domen’s games, but if it conflicts with Luke’s games will attend Luke’s but will listen to Domen’s games on the radio,” said Deb McDonnell.
Senior and Wahlert will meet Jan. 18 at Wahlert. Last season, the Rams were surprisingly upset twice by Wahlert. This also be Zevniks first game of the season, due to transfer rules forcing him to sit out 10 games of the season.
“It is going to be weird playing against my old teammates but I know it’ll be a good game and I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “Also, my parents are coming from Slovenia to come watch me, which makes it even more special since they haven’t seen me play in over two years.”
“I think it is just going to be like any other game and that is how I’m going to treat it,” said McDonnell.
Zevnik knows how hostile of a student section – the “Nasty Nation” – is but he believes he is prepared for it.
“My friends from Senior already told me I have a few ‘boo’ chants coming my way but I am prepared for it,” he said.
Zevnik and McDonnell still treat each other the same and Zevnik constantly keeps in touch with his old teammates.
“The relationships haven’t changed much,” Zevnik said. “All the guys are still my friends and I usually hang out with them and talk to them. I wish them nothing but the best this year.”
McDonnell’s mother also has seen no change in attitude toward the other from her son or Zavnik.
“Domen and Luke have a brotherly relationship and they never argue,” she said. “There hasn’t really been any difference in their relationship.”
The two are excited for this basketball season and playing against each other.
“It is an inner-city game that is usually packed and should bring a lot of excitement,” said Zevnik.
“I’m pretty excited to play against them,” added McDonnell.