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Former teammates Nick Rakocevic and Mike Smith follow similar paths as rivals

<p>Michael Smith, then an eighth-grader at Burr Ridge Middle School, protects the ball from Holy Trinity&rsquo;s John Rave. | File</p>

Michael Smith, then an eighth-grader at Burr Ridge Middle School, protects the ball from Holy Trinity’s John Rave. | File

St. Joseph center Nick Rakocevic got the best of Fenwick and Mike Smith during a meeting off one-time teammates. Read more from Ken Ryan on High School Cube News.

When St. Joseph center Nick Rakocevic partially blocked a shot by Fenwick guard Mike Smith during Friday’s Chicago Catholic League game in Westchester, memories flooded back for both standout sophomores.

Rakocevic and Smith were teammates on the Burr Ridge Middle School eighth-grade basketball team that captured the Class 3A Illinois Elementary School Association state championship in 2012.

“I would practice my floater in practice and he hated when I did it because he could never block it,” Smith said of their middle school days. “He was all happy because he finally tipped one [Friday].”

Rakocevic and St. Joseph earned bragging rights by pulling out a 68-62 CCL North victory in Westchester.

“We hoped to play together in high school, but it didn’t work out,” Rakocevic said. “Now, we’re kind of rivals. I wanted to beat him so I could let him know about it. He was upset that they lost a close game, but he got over it in a few days. It was great seeing him and I’m glad he’s doing well.”

The 6-foot-9 Rakocevic had 15 points and 16 rebounds in the win, while Smith scored 10 points.

“It was fun playing against my state-championship teammate,” Smith said. “I wish we could’ve got the win, so he doesn’t talk so much stuff about it.”

[Read the full story on High School Cube News.]

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