Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Meet the Warriors: Niko Filipovich

Nikola Filipovich has European roots, but he is undoubtedly an American.

It has certainly helped him adjust to his new life with the University of Hawai’i basketball team, despite being one of the youngest and smallest players on the roster.

“I think it’s great here,” said Filipovich, who just celebrated his 18th birthday last week. “We’re all playing hard, and we’re one group.”

Filipovich, who prefers to go by Niko for his first name, was born and raised in Los Angeles, and his parents are from Serbia. As such, he speaks three languages – English, Serbian and Romanian.


Filipovich, who is listed at 6 feet and 160 pounds, also has a diverse game on the court. He can play both guard positions, and played several different roles on his high school team at Bishop Montgomery last season.

“I like to play fast, I like to be unselfish,” he said. “I’m not really a scorer type, but if I am open I’m going to shoot it. I love to play the inside-out game and just push the ball in general. I think I can definitely help this team with the defense I bring and how I can spread the floor with my shot.”

At the same time, Filipovich is aware that he is behind his older teammates after the first week of practices for this season.

“I’m just going hard at practice right now,” he said. “There is an option that I might be redshirting, but it’s all coach’s decision … I’m just trying to play hard, help the (first) team to be at their best.”

Given his mindset and basketball IQ, it perhaps should be no surprise that Filipovich’s favorite NBA team is the San Antonio Spurs.

“Just because they play as one team,” he said. “They’re always the best. Nobody knows how, but they’re always on top and I love that.”


  1. Niko: Great young man. Made in the USA with great Serbian roots and Ohana! Thank you to the Fili-po-vi-lich family for allowing Nikola to come to UH for school and to help UH MBB get better. Nikola, I heard that you and Stefan are the Serbian rappers. Wow! However, you and Stefan can help to (W)rap, up BWC championships in the weeks to come.

    Don’t know what hawaiifan09(from the mainland?) opinion is of Nikola, I like him, good student and nice young man, he is a baller! In fact fellow WI fans, did you notice from Dyrbe to Caleb(hope the young guy’s disc in back gets better, that is a rough injury!, get well soon Caleb, we need you, when you are ready and healthy!!), PG’s will push, PF’s run, wings , run, and Bigs, Centers, run, this team is as my boy hoopsa says is becoming the Run Bows, however, guys run with purpose, controlled, and score and one!

    Mahalo Dayton, great story on a very HIGH CHARACTER, seems, like Gib has them by the boat load now, young BB player!


  2. Sorry Nikola, I got your name pronounced incorrectly it is Fi-Lo-PoVich.!!!

    My Apologies!


  3. Welcome! Nice Intro, Niko (Thanks, Dayton)

    Niko speaks with Purpose and Confidence; i expect he’ll also study and Play that way, as well…
    (As some might say, His Mum should be Proud)

    To whatever level Niko rises, i can understand Why Gib brought him in…
    i was always able to play up to the level of my All-American Best Friend
    because in many ways we taught each other or at least helped each other grow and Win
    WHAT it Takes to Rise to the Level of The NBA is No Mystery to Niko
    For Him, it IS A Matter of Fact, a Result of Effort, Hard Work and some Mixture of Talent, Focus etc., BUT like a Player’s or Coach’s son, he’s already seen & vicariously experienced it… he may even be able to help his teammates get there…

    Great Preferred Walk-on and hopefully Near-Future Scholarship Player…

    All the Best to you, Niko!
    Feel Free to Tear Up the Big West!

  4. Well…..if EF true commit to SM, that is fine. Hope to see you in the NCAA playoffs one day!
    Gib, next , look for another great to very great SF, PF!

    Go Run Bows!

  5. Great interview with a smart, well-spoken student-athlete. Very glad to have him on the team. Best of luck to you Niko, UH fans will be rooting for you!

  6. To have 5 preferred walkons, probably historic for UH MBB. I tell you these guys works as hard if not harder than the projected first group. So Gib lays down the law, get your butts( the tentative for now starters), working full effort, focused, all the time, no matter freshman , sophomore, senior or captains, That is old school, and helps to instill discipline and respect. Good job Gib!

    Isaac Fleming, from a Military Prep School, committing to UH to sign November LOI, he knows discipline, and hard work.

    Come on, Captains, Spearman, Standhardinger, and potential other starters, and first 6, 7 off the bench, always, always work hard as ONE OHANA. Only then, will you guys have potential to reach NCAA’s!

    Thanks again Dayton for interview with Niko, he is , as was stated well spoken, seems much more mature than a recently turned 18 year old, glad to have you Niko, enjoy Hawaii, and the fans enjoy having a great student and Basketball player, and I know you have quicks(another fast PG)!

    Mahalo for becoming a Rainbow Warrior

    P.S. thanks Cheri Fitzner for your son’s, and your interest in having Evan become a Rainbow Warrior, wish him and your family well. Maybe, UH and his school will play soon in the future!

  7. Yup. No question, Gib should target a very good, or developing SF and a very good, solid PF! Maybe a few more visits before Nov. 2013, ? we shall see. The team is working, all 17, well they know now from Gib, they have to, to get ready for a big 2013-14 season., Would it be out of the question if Niko plays, who knows, Niko is very fast, and PG mentality, with a nice shooting touch. Can’t have enough quality PG’s , and combo guards, that is for sure! 😀

    Nice to have a very large roster, to develop and have available!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  8. Hey Niko,

    Aloha for your love of Hawaii; Convincingly expressed joy, pride with the Ohana in paradise!

    Typical with your Bishop Montgomary HS graduates: Totally high BBIQ plus excellent, sound fundamentals.

    Here on an ever improving overall program, excited you to compete with the best of mates of the TEAM –
    Your total satisfaction can be guarrantee!

    If you born 12 months earlier; My pick for a starting PG – help TEAM cracked that 20-W barrier.
    Well, with all the talented athletes ahead of you, that accomplishment is assured with you providing a strong assist, wouldn’t be bad for whom just turned 18 last week.

    Keep plugging.. better & better rewards are in your future, as with your buddy Jovan (heal soon)!

  9. PS: Enjoyed your good-looking video, unfortunately it comes with ‘no sound’ (only this one).
    Niko, tell the Webmaster that we missed it entirely and, to put it backed-in (to normal)?

  10. Gib should consider this:

    PG’s: Keith Shamburger, Quincy Smith, Nikola Filipovich, Dyrbe Enos
    SG’s: Brandon Spearman, Garrett Nevels
    SG/wing: Michael Harper, Brandon Jawato, Jack Hackman
    SF/swing PF: Aaron Valdes, Mike Thomas
    PF: Isaac Fotu, Christian Standhardinger
    C: Davis Rozitis, Caleb Dressler(if back is okay), Stefan Jovanovich

    True RS Jr transfer, super workout guy, sitting out this year: Negus Webster-Chan

    Would not be surprised if Gib went to 15 or even 16 man active roster, he remembers the past few years, with the ailment/ injuries, and other wacky things!

    Or, Gib could RS one or two besides NWC, however, I would like to see, just my opinion, especially if the guys are willing to contribute, support, in anyway, and just in case of emergency maybe a 15 man active roster

    That is why these extra practice weeks are REALLY IMPORTANT now, Gib can evaluate, and see how guys are doing. Like that he wants every one to work it, give it your best. ONE OHANA!

    Go Run Bows!

  11. Key: Is Caleb’s back okay? Hope so, the young guy, not the fastest, doesn’t jump too high, not the strongest, just has a great BBIQ, that is why he was one of the top MBB players out of HS in the Pacific Northwest, smart student too.

    I am pulling for you, Caleb! Get well, take care of that disc bulge in your back. Doctor and trainers, and PT, and nutritionist , do your thing and help Caleb get better, I really like that leftie, center, a Pacific Northwest, 2013 version of a young Jack Sikma, Sikma, wasn’t the fastest, didn’t jump the highest, however great jump shot, held high, money shot, and he won NBA title with the Seattle Supersonics waay back in the day.

    Calebs, corral of fans! 😀

    Go Caleb get well!~


  12. And Yessss, Nikola, Great, great, humble, hungry and honest attitude, you will do well with UH MBB and in life. Great young man, with a good family!

    Go Nikola, PG of the future, or whenever coach, says : go in Niki!

    Go Run Bows!


  13. MORE UHMBB & UHWBB Buzzz…

    Hoops Talk (Now on Air AM1420 HNL)…
    Positive Scouting Reports by Jeff Portnoy and Jackson Wheeler, esp. RE: Negus, Nevels, Shamburger, Quincy & Spearman…expect the UH backcourt to be strong in the BWest (who has good guards, but a lot of them are under-sized…)

    Laura Beeman to Guest onto Hoops Talk Next Week…
    PITT & Former UH Coach Jamie Dixon on air right now…

  14. Eagle, my fellow WI fan. You are another insider too! Thanks for report on hoops talk. If Portnoy and Wheeler are singing praises of guards for UH MBB , that is a good thing. I think Benjy, Brandyn and Gib who were college guards, know they have very capable guys. Once they learn system to stay and play together, they are going to do some damage in the BWC.

    Remember the old adage, good guards make good teams, great guards make great teams. Guard play, good ones, help teams make Post Season Tourneys. Great guard play, helps teams to win games, and advance in the Big Dance! You have to have good guards to control temp on Offense and Defense, and close out wins!

    Thanks Eagle. Wow, Hoopstak, like UH guards, great news!
    Even BC had a Mid week writeup, he likes UH , the athletes, thinks they can have good season too.
    Same with Artie On Point show, Artie, was a very good guard for UH, he likes the backcourt too.
    Exciting times Eagle, enjoy the season , and hope you witness a lot of wins at the SSC!

    Uhfanzonly1 and a global WI Rainbow Warrior fan Nation!

  15. Yea, I caught most of the show. However, I feel that this here is where I get the most expert knowledge and opinions. Both from Dayton and his interviews and vids and the posters.
    I like interviews with Jamie Dixon. Hope he follows thru and visits Hawaii to play UH soon.

    Oh, and I think we will run circles around Irvine and their seven footers.

  16. warriorhaw: You know you are correct, Dayton and WI going back to first days of Gib, and I think last year of Nash, is a very unique site and forum. UH MBB coaches, and staff, have first hand video updates and interviews. Any, I say any legitimate questions that we have, and inquired of Dayton to ask the team and coaching staff, Dayton and WI, most times than not have come through.

    Once again WI with Dayton, Ameriprise, Valerie Schmidt all forum contributors who support and promote the team, a million mahalos!

    Uhfanzonly1 and Eagle, were some of the original Forum contributors, always supported UH coach team, and made objective, observations, well tried their best(!). Both great fans of UH MBB, going waay back in the day.,

    warriorhaw, going to be exciting, if UH has the guards, that is where it is at. And seeing the video of the scrimmages, reading print, radio reports, guys that coached UH guys in summer league, and the returnees themselves, agree, much better athletic, guards as a whole, and warriorhaw, BIG ADVANTAGE to UH MBB versus BWC teams, TWO, all BWC, very sure, first teamers, in PF/stretch, in Fotu and Standhardinger. UH will have inside, outside, transition, hopefully a fine tuned half court offense too, I am sure they will come March!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  17. Apologies Dayton, don’t remember exactly when WI started! Was it first year of Gib era, or last year or two of Nash 3 yr run?

    Anyways, thanks for the best forum for FANS of UH MBB on the planet!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  18. Well all we UH MBB fans can say…..look out Oct 19th 2013 at SSC, Green White full scrimmage to introduce 2013-14, MBB squad, with fanfare too, I hope, for fans, etc.

    Now, probably Oct 10th 2013, a.m. so, very, very close to that Scrimmage, then first game RBC against Tenn. St. Going to be a lot of excitement, UH AD dept, hopefully Jamie Smith, all of the fans on this site, have to get word out, be at SSC for scrimmage or RBC. at least 7000+ , for first game of season, and we will see how the guys do..
    Funny thing is, the teams coming to Rainbow and Diamond Head, some have been to NIT, NCAA’s so they have athletes too, Hawaii has to be ready! Will be here soon FANS, start of the season.

    Gets our MINDS OFF FB!

    Well hope those athletes can win some games too, they work extremely hard , in a terribly very physical game! Life threatening, Go Rainbow Warrior FB team too, get UNLV!

    Go Rainbow Warriors!

  19. Hey Niko,

    Sorry for the encounter with a super-charged #3 captain DaVeast of late. He probably has forgotten that you are his TEAMmate! or thought he’s playing Tennessee State; 11/8/13. Giving damage to the enemy?

    Speedy recovery young man! Soon back to acton O.K.?

  20. Will be the starting pointguard one day!!

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