Few players in BYU history have been able to capture the hearts of Cougar fans like Kresimir Cosic did from 1970-73. The 6-foot-11 center from Zadar, Yugoslavia, entertained fans during his stellar career with his enthusiastic, guard-like play.
Whether it was leading the fastbreak, dribbling between his legs or shooting a sky-hook, Cosic’s enthusiasm and on-court antics endeared him to almost everyone who saw him play.
During his career at BYU, Cosic used his versatile inside-outside game to lead the Cougars in scoring (23.3) and rebounding (13.0) as a junior and again as a senior (20.2 points per game). His unselfish attitude helped him to lead his team in assists.
He ranks second on BYU’s all-time rebounding list with 919, an average of 11.6 per game, and fourth all-time with a 19.1 career scoring average while recording a BYU-record 47 double-doubles. He was a three-time first-team All-WAC selection and an All-American his junior and senior years. He likely would have been a four-year all-conference award winner but freshmen at that time were not allowed to play on varsity. Behind the play of Cosic, the Cougars won two WAC titles and reached the NCAA Regional Tournament in 1971 and 1972.
Upon graduation, Cosic became very much involved with basketball throughout Europe. He had offers to play in the NBA from the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers but he chose to return home and play for the Yugoslavian National Team for $250 a week. Cosic played on four Olympic teams with his native land, winning a gold medal in 1980 and two silver medals in 1968 and 1976. He ended his career as his countries all-time scoring leader and went on to coach the Yugoslavian national team for many years.
His national and international accomplishments led to his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on May 6, 1996, making Cosic the first BYU player and second Cougar along with former coach Stan Watts to receive the prestigious honor. He is also a member of the Utah Basketball Hall of Fame, inducted in 2001.
In September of 1992, Cosic was appointed as deputy ambassador for Croatia to the United States. He and his family lived in Washington D.C where he performed his diplomatic duties in the same excellent manner in which he played basketball.
On May 25, 1995, Cosic lost his battle against the toughest opponent of his career – cancer. During his 46 years on earth, Cosic became one of the most influential and well-known of all European basketball players. He left behind the legacy and credit of being the individual that first introduced the American game of basketball to Europe.
During the 2005 NCAAâ€ˆMen’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Television analyst Billy Packer singled out Cosic while discussing the quality of international players playing college basketball. Said Packer, “Kresimir Cosic, who played at BYU, was really the first great international player to play college basketball in the United States.”
Cosic played in BYU’s first game on the Marriott Center floor in 1971. His No. 11 jersey was retired by BYU on Mar. 4, 2006 in a halftime ceremony with 20,732 fans in attendance, which was also the last time the original Marriott Center floor was used before being replaced during the summer of 2006.
"It's very impressive that Kreso is not forgotten here," said Cosic's wife Ljerka, through her daughter Ana, at the retirement ceremony. "Kreso never forgot Provo. He loved his Croatia and always spoke of it as the most beautiful place on Earth, but Provo forever remained his second home. Provo and BYU marked his life forever."
Kreso Cosic was one of the greatest player in Croatian basketball history beside Drazen Petrovic. Today there is national basketball cup called "Kresimir Cosic" it's playing since 1992. Every year we celebrate his passion for basketball at this basketball tournament. Biggest basketball teams in Croatia, like Cibona, Zadar, Cedevita are playing this tournament every single year. This year Cedevita won Zadar, and took title second time.
Photo of Kreso while playing in Zadar basketball team.
Kresomir was a great centre, he was a legend of Yugoslavian basketball, like Indus said the best player after Drazen Petrovic. He was third not American player that was accepted in hall of fame. After all he was chosen 2008 in 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors.