Back in early November, days before the season began, San José State head men's basketball coach Dave Wojcik spoke in front of about 50 of the most faithful Spartan fans at the first installment of Wake Up With Wojcik. As he introduced some new members of the team and ran through a few video clips from practices leading up to the season-opener versus Idaho, he froze the video player and reached for the laser pointer.
"This right here is Ivo Basor," he said circling his pointer on the screen. "This may be one of the few times you see Ivo this season. But he's a special kid because he understands, and he told me he'll do anything he can to help the team this year."
For the most part, now 21 games into the season, fans haven't seen much of Ivo during games. But the Watsonville, Calif., native gives SJSU some of the most important minutes which don't show up in a box score, and come when the doors are closed to the public.
Oddly enough, Basor does this by assuming a completely different identity, and executing the other team's offense during practice. Every week throughout the season Ivo (Eve-oh) studies the opponents' offense and performs the role of one or more key players.
Basor was Boise State's high-flying, play-making James Webb III last week. This week, two more athletic Mountain West big-men in Colorado State's Tiel Daniels and Air Force's Zach Moer.
"It's a challenge getting to know the new plays that coach Woj throws in for our team and also learning the other team's plays," Basor said. "You have to know our stuff, but then you have to execute the scout at a high level. If you don't, when it's gametime, our guys might not understand the tendencies of the opponent, which is very important."
Basor, who walked on to the team prior to the 2014-15 season, remembers Toledo's Nathan Boothe as one of the toughest opponents to imitate this year.
"Boothe was like a stretch-four player," said Basor. "He had a fade-away jumper, and would hit threes - The kinds of things they would never let me do in a game."
But Ivo has had no signs of an identity crisis when he has checked into 10 games for the Spartans simply as, himself. And a matter of fact, the three-ball is a secret weapon for the 6-foot-9, 240-pound center. He's 3 of 4 from deep this year and is 42.9 percent from downtown in his career.
Another critical contribution Basor makes for the team is nonstop high-level energy. There are no silent moments for Ivo during any practices or at games. Whether he is calling out a switch on defense or simply yelling just for the sake of it, you can always hear Ivo when you are in the gym with the team.
"Nobody told him to be like that," said assistant coach Tyler Ojanen, who primarily coaches the SJSU bigs. "He's just always done it on his own, and we count on him for it. That's one of the things this team is really going to miss when he is gone next year."
Basor came to San José State after two years at Monterrey Peninsula College.
"At first I didn't know how the players and coaches would accept me as a junior college walk-on," Basor said. "Once I came, nobody looked down on me and they gave me confidence. I like when people are straight forward, and that's how coach Woj has always been with me. He told me in the beginning that this wasn't going to be easy, and that nothing was guaranteed. He said it's going to be the hardest things you'll do, but I'm going to make you a player and get you your degree on time."
Basor is on track to graduate this spring with a degree in communication studies.
Ivo's father John was born in Croatia and came to California when he was 14 years old. John, who graduated from San José State, and his wife Jelka raised Ivo and his sister Luci in nearby Watsonville. Basor spends part of his summers helping the family make wine from their three acre grape vineyard.
The other parts of his summers, every one since 1996 in fact, are spent in Croatia where he still has family. Throughout high school, he had the opportunity to compete there in basketball camps against professional players.
With his European influence, Basor is an avid soccer fan. It's common to pass by him and German teammate Leon Bahner debating about the soccer landscape in Europe.
There is no debate that Basor's presence on the team is immense both when he is running a scout, and when he is just being his loud, gregarious self.
Basor and the Spartans take on Air Force this Saturday, January 30, at 2:00 p.m. inside The Event Center. Tickets for the game are available via the Spartan Ticket Office, which can be reached by phone at 408-924-7589.
Next up, we go from a local senior to a pair of Spartan freshmen that have brought their talents from the Midwest to San Jose.