ARLINGTON, Texas -- One of the feel-good storylines early in the UT Arlington men's basketball team's season is the emergence of senior center Link Kabadyundi.
Through the team's first five games of the year, the Montreal, Canada native is averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Even more impressive is the fact that Kabadyundi has made 14 of his 15 field goal attempts on the season for an incredible .933 shooting percentage.
After having his minutes reduced last season due to recurring knee soreness, Kabadyundi spent the summer physically preparing for his final season of college basketball. His offseason workouts have paid off as he is averaging 13.6 minutes per game and has made his share of highlight reel plays to help the Mavericks to a 4-1 start to the season.
After claiming the Niagara division of the Barclays Center Classic last weekend in upstate New York, the Mavericks (4-1) return home Monday for the first of 3-straight games in College Park Center when they host UT Dallas (2-1) at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available online at UTATickets.com, by calling (817) 272-9595 or by stopping by the UTA Box Office at College Park Center during weekday business hours. All three games will also be streamed live on ESPN3 via WatchESPN.com and the popular WatchESPN app as well as featuring a live radio call on KEXB 620 AM and TuneIn.com.
During the team's trip to New York, UTAMavs.com caught up with Kabadyundi for a little more insight into the Mavericks' Canadian center:
Q: After your offseason of hard work, did you expect to have the success you've experienced so far this year?
A: "I think I am playing exactly how the coaches expect me to. I worked with the coaches and trainers during the offseason with the expectation that I could expand my role this year. Honestly, I just try to do what I am supposed to do on the floor, play defense. My performance the last few games have come by simply applying what coaches direct me to do."
Q: What did you do during the offseason to prepare?
A: "I get treatment every day and I try to treat my body like a professional athlete, using rest effectively and balancing my lifestyle on and off the court. I am trying to do my best to stay on top of everything to remain healthy."
Q: What are some of your interests outside of basketball?
A: "I do some photography and graphic design. Being here in Niagara Falls has provided the opportunity to get some pretty cool shots - of the falls and the guys. I like to do graphic design, especially with the player. It gives them something cool to post on Instagram.
"I am interested in graphic design as a career after I graduate. I think there is a lot of opportunity there for me. I had a chance to have an internship in graphic design with the athletic department. I really enjoyed that, so I think that is a direction I would like to pursue."
Q: Have you enjoyed being so close to your home country of Canada during the trip to Niagara Falls?
A: "I haven't been home for almost two years. So, seeing all the Tim Horton's everywhere and knowing Canada is right across the river is a pretty cool feeling. My father is coming to the game tonight, so that makes this trip very special. But, I am trying to stay focused and win games. Seeing my family and enjoying the trip is a bonus."
Q: How have the coaches at UTA affected your life over the last few years?
A: "There are not enough words to express how much they have done for me. First of all, they believed in my coming out of junior college. A lot of coaches recruited me, then I had a procedure to repair my lateral meniscus. A lot of the high major coaches stopped recruiting me. Coach (Scott) Cross and Coach (Greg) Young and the staff kept pursuing me and showed their belief in me. Then, once I got to UTA, they have consistently worked with me to make sure I was healthy, doing the right things and opening new doors for me. They have helped me build confidence, which I think is a big part of why I have gotten better - especially during the summer."
Q: Did you grow up your entire childhood in Canada?
A: "Basically, yes. I was born in the Congo, but we left there when I was a baby - around 2 years old. I grew up in Montreal. My parents left the Congo because it wasn't as safe as they would have liked so it was better for us to move. We originally moved near some of my family in the United States. But, we moved to Canada soon afterward. I think Canada is a pretty great place."
Q: Do you see yourself living in Canada or the United States after college?
A: "I like the U.S. I think there will be a lot of opportunity for me, careerwise. Through my four years in college, I have developed a network and have gotten to know a lot of people who have influenced my life. So, I would say it might be a better choice for me to stay in the U.S."
PURCHASE UTA HOME GAME TICKETS
Full season and single game tickets to attend UTA men and women's basketball events are on sale through the UTA Box Office in person or by calling (817) 272-8585 and online through UTATickets.com. Season tickets are available for as low as $99 for all 30 men and women's games, which comes out to $3.30 per game. Single game tickets are priced at $8, $12 and $25 per game, depending on seat location. UTA students and faculty staff tickets are available for just $5 for a single game or at a reduced rate for season tickets. Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available. Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.
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