The Wolfpacker

January 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 35 of 51

36 ■ THE WOLFPACKER FINDING A WAY Ilian Evtimov Overcame A Low Recruiting Profile And Significant Knee Injury To Carve Out A Long And Successful Basketball Career I ILIAN EVTIMOV W H E R E AR E T H E Y N O W ? BY TIM PEELER lian Evtimov once said that for him, playing basketball was like eating lunch: It was something he did every day without even thinking about it. Like sleeping and breathing, it was an involuntary action for a young player who grew up around the family business, even though he never spent more than a few days at a time with his father, Ilia, mainly because the elder Evtimov played professional basketball all over Europe until he was 47 years old. It was the rare opportunity to share a com- mon enterprise with his biggest rival, older brother Vassil, who left home as a teenager to play high school basketball in the United States. It was the activity that allowed Ilian, 15 years old and alone, to survive his own first year in the U.S., playing at a Catholic school in New York, where he had few friends, a loose understanding of the English language, and an itchy and uncomfortable school uni- form. Thinking back on it, Evtimov just shakes his head and quickly answers if he would let his only son, now 10 years old, leave the nest at such an age in order to follow a similar dream. Evtimov still has several impressive marks in the career record books. He is 40th in program history with 1,214 points, sixth with 199 three-pointers, eighth with 131 games and 3,626 minutes played, and 15th with a 79.1 career free throw percentage (min. 100). PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE ATHLETICS

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