BOZICH | Kyle Kuric's Korner packed with current Louisville Card - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Kyle Kuric's Korner packed with current Louisville Cardinals

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Former Louisville star Kyle Kuric will undergo brain surgery in Barcelona Thursday. Former Louisville star Kyle Kuric will undergo brain surgery in Barcelona Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Nobody on this University of Louisville basketball team played one game as a teammate of Kyle Kuric. Everybody on this U of L basketball team had at least one Kyle Kuric story to share Wednesday.

Everybody – Ryan McMahon, Anas Mahmoud, Damion Lee, David Levitch, Donovan Mitchell, Dillon Avare, Raymond Spalding and more.

Everybody was eager to stop discussing the 2015-16 season and start talking about their hopes and prayers that Kuric, 26, will recover quickly into prime health after enduring brain surgery in Barcelona, Spain Thursday morning.

I expected to hear stories from the guys who grew up in Louisville, cheering for the U of L teams that featured Kuric from 2009-12. They saw the way Kuric shot, soared, competed and won.

Levitch’s family had season tickets behind the Cardinals’ bench at Freedom Hall. If Louisville played, Levitch was there to scream and cheer. No game excited him as much as the one when Kuric closed Freedom Hall with 22 points – all in the second half -- against top-ranked Syracuse in 2010.

“My favorite game ever, just watching Kyle go off,” Levitch said.

After you finish reading this column, visit YouTube.com. Type Kyle Kuric dunk vs. Notre Dame. Prepare to be entertained.

Quentin Snider remembers jumping out of his chair and roaring at the television in 2012 when Kuric roared into video-game mode and overwhelmed Notre Dame’s Scott Martin with his beastly athleticism.

“I was going crazy on that one, screaming at the TV, one of the greatest dunks I’ve ever seen,” Snider said. “Kyle just had so many great games at U of L. He had crazy bounce.”

But here’s the real measure of Kyle Kuric’s powerful impact on the U of L program. Even the guys who did not play high school basketball in the metro area had Kuric stories to share Wednesday. How? Why? Because they know him, too. Kuric made certain of that.

Mahmoud lived in Egypt when Kuric delivered for the Rick Pitino’s program. Mahmoud said Kuric helped him with his footwork and shooting stroke when they practiced together last summer. They were workout partners.

Ditto for Mitchell. They practiced together several times last summer. Kuric looked at Mitchell’s shot. Liked it. But he made a few encouraging suggestions.

Avare grew up in Lexington and came to the University of Louisville without a scholarship. Kuric didn’t always have a scholarship during his four seasons at Louisville after arriving from Evansville. Nobody has done more to encourage Avare – or freshman guard Ryan McMahon – than Kuric.

“Kyle’s Korner was my favorite spot as a fan,” Avare said. “Then, after I got here, we worked out together a lot one summer, competing in these drills. He would always win because he does not miss. Just an awesome dude, always telling me to keep working.”

This story was my favorite: Damion Lee joined the U of L program from Drexel last summer. One of the first players he met on the practice court at the Yum! Center was Kuric, who has made Louisville his home during the off-season of his pro career in Europe.

The two worked out together one morning last July.  “When he came and worked out he actually asked me if I wanted to work out with him,” Lee said.

It gets better. Ask Lee, who still shakes his head at the memory.

“Kyle was like, ‘Hey, what’s your number?’ “ Lee said.  “I was thinking, ‘All right, whatever.’ I gave it to him.

“Kyle just let me know whenever I wanted to work out and we could work out.  We worked out hard for three straight days after that. He’s just a real person.”

As real as they get. There has never been anything pretentious or self-promoting about Kuric. A defensive player never made Kuric as uncomfortable as a television camera or tape recorder did. He just wanted to compete. Kuric could live without the media attention, no matter how much he earned it -- and he earned everything he got, all the way to the 2012 NCAA Final Four.

“Prayers are definitely going up for Kyle from this whole team,” Lee said.

And this whole city. Kuric is the player who organized a program to provide tickets for 30 or 40 kids at Louisville basketball scrimmages and exhibition games. After those games ended, Kuric would stay on the floor and sign every autograph.

He is also the player who started the annual toy drive that the U of L basketball program promotes every December. Kuric and U of L senior associate athletic director Kenny Klein were exchanging emails about the 2015 drive earlier this week before Kuric learned that the headache he started suffering last weekend was the result of a condition known as meningioma, denoting a tumor or series of tumors surrounding the membranous layers around the central nervous system.

While the tumors are often benign, their location is troublesome. The surgery is Thursday. Klein said that Kuric’s parents, his wife, Taraneh Momeni, and their twin infant daughters are all in Spain.

Klein said cards and notes of encouragement should be sent to this address:

Kyle Kuric

c/o Dr. Kuric

4001 Kresge Way  Suite 238

Louisville Ky. 40207

“He was having a great season in Spain,” Mahmoud said. “I was texting him a lot last month. He was having a great time and really playing well. Everybody on this team wants the best for Kyle.”

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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