Happy 31st, Damir Krupalija

Happy 31st, Damir Krupalija

Stroll down Memory Lane here

Damir Krupalija, a member of Illinois' basketball team from 1998 to 2002, celebrates his 31st birthday Sunday. Krupalija fled his war-torn country in 1992, living in the Czech Republic for three years before coming to the United States in 1995. His parents, Sead and Zora Krupalija, joined him a year later. Krupalija attended Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, where he led the Titans' basketball team to fourth place in the 1997 Illinois state tournament. In 1998, he was named an all-state selection by the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press. After graduating from high school, Krupalija played basketball for Illinois. Although his career at Illinois often was hampered by injuries, the 6-foot-9 forward was well regarded for his rebounding ability and fiery attitude on the court. In his senior year (2001-2002), Krupalija, coming off the bench, was named the Most Valuable Player at the Las Vegas Invitational tournament. His four-season, 99-game statistics at Illinois showed him averaging five points and nearly four rebounds per game, shooting .561 from the field and .392 from behind the three-point line. In 2002, Krupalija moved to Poland, where he played forward for Anwil Wloclawek and won the 2002-2003 Polish national championship. The following season he relocated to Belgium and joined Spirou Charleroi. It won the 2003-2004 Belgian national championship. He played for Spirou Charleroi until the end of the 2007 season. For the last four seasons, Krupalija has played for French team JDA Dijon Bourgogne. In 2009-10, he averaged nearly nine points and seven rebounds per game.

Illini birthdays

Sunday: Justi Miller, golf (43)

Monday: Stacy Bogle, swimming (28)

Tuesday: Charlotte Cooke, soccer (23)

Wednesday: Arael Doolittle, football (45)

Thursday: Chris White, football (48)

Friday: Mike Wells, football (59)

Saturday: Rashard Mendenhall, football (23)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore and assistant athletic director at Miami (Ohio)