Alem Huseinovic, sophomore guard for Nevada men’s basketball, has an interesting background when it comes to his basketball career. Not only is he described as “a fierce competitor,” but he also is a viral TikToker and attends events to promote the Wolf Pack.
Huseinovic has had many TikToks go viral, getting over 200,000 likes and millions of views. His fame started back in a high school weight lifting class with his friend.
“This is when TikTok just started to become a thing, people started hopping on,” Huseinovic said. “Me and him decided, because we were bored in our weights class, we were like ‘alright let’s do something.’ He said ‘alright let’s see who can make a TikTok and by the end of class make it go viral.’ So he came up with his idea and I came up with mine.”
Huseinovic’s TikTok had about 100,000 views by the end of the class period, which surpassed his friends’ views TikTok.
“It was just a simple video I made in like three minutes off the top of my head. I was like, ‘wow 100,000 views … this is crazy.’ My friend couldn’t believe it either. I started making more and ended up getting more than 100,000, 200,000, then it started to get to the millions, and then three million. It just started going crazy. I was shocked.”
He now has 55.3k followers and a total of 2.4 million likes. Because of his fan base, he is getting paid by TikTok and receives multiple sponsorships, partnerships and collabs. Tiktok pays viral accounts like Huseinovic’s by the amount of views and total engagement he gets. Huseinovic currently is partnered with Attitude is Free and Clutch Closet.
I’ve had some little partnerships I’ve been doing where businesses have been reaching out to me, giving me gear for them to promote.” Huseinovic said. “I’ve been making money off of that too. It’s all pretty cool.”
Although college athletes are allowed to sign with companies, Huseinovic has not for now because he has not had any offers.
Huseinovic said content has not been as frequent due to the school year. He said he had more time last year to make TikToks because of being stuck in quarantine.
“I’ve been slacking lately, not going to lie,” Huseinovic said. “But I’ve been really busy with basketball practice everyday. I don’t have time to make them. But I got some good ones coming soon.”
Despite a successful TikTok journey, Huseinovic’s athletic ability nationally and internationally brought him to Nevada.
Huseinovic, born in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a 6-foot-4-inch internationally traveling basketball player. He competed in Bosnia and in the United States, playing in Phoenix, Ariz. and Reno, Nev.
“My family moved to Phoenix and then I kept going back and forth,” Huseinovic said. “I was officially in Arizona when I was eight years old. From then on, I basically grew up in Arizona. I also go back every summer for about four months and then I play for the national team.”
At fourteen, Huseinovic played on his first club team in Bosnia during the summer. The team was small and not very known. However, they were able to make it to the playoffs and not let the Spars win another year in a row. The Bosnian National Team had their eyes on him after a big tournament.
“I had an outstanding game in the championships, had like 30 points, ten rebounds, and like five or six assists,” Huseinovic said. From then on, they have just been watching me. When it came to the 16U National team, they gave me a call and that’s how I got on.”
Huseinovic was on the U16/17 Bosnian National Team which plays in the summer. He had a total of 26.1 minutes on the court and had the highest number of points at 18.3 in 2018. Huseinovic is not currently on the team because of his dedication to Nevada basketball.
“You have the preparations, practices and then the tournament, like whatever European tournament, World Cup or whatever you do. So right there we did the European Championships,” Huseinovic said.
When getting ready for college basketball, Huseinovic got offers from Boston University, University of California, Riverside, Yale and Northern Arizona University. Deep down, he had his heart set on UCLA.
“Growing up in highschool, since freshman year, sophomore year, I was a UCLA fan,” Huseinovic said. “UCLA was my dream school to go to. I knew a lot of stuff about UCLA, like who Coach Alford was when he was there and everything.”
Huseinovic was surprised when he got a call from the University of Nevada, Reno, and Alford wanted him on his team. Alford had switched from coaching at UCLA to UNR in 2019, after former coach Eric Musselman accepted an offer at the University of Arkansas.
Nevada called Huseinovic at just the right time. He just got done at a big tournament at the end of his junior year and was three days away from leaving to play for the Bosnian U18 National Team.
“I answered the phone and it was Coach Craig Neal, and he basically said ‘we’d like to give you an offer and Steve Alford is the head coach,’” Huseinovic said. “I was like ‘what Steve Alford, that’s crazy.’ I had literally been tracking them this whole time. I took an official visit and fell in love with everything they had to say. I fell in love with Reno, the community, and their basketball.”
While Huseinovic was finally ready to come to Reno after signing, it wasn’t ideal conditions his first year. Like many other athletes, Huseinovic had a rough freshman year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was pretty hard freshman year,” Huseinovic said. “I got here up in like June ninth or tenth of last year. Right when I stepped foot in Nevada I quarantined for like 14 days. After that was done, there were outbreaks on campus and stuff. I was in quarantine from June till about August, so basically a month and a half, almost two months.”
He explained practices this season are majorly different compared to last year when dealing with stricter COVID-19 restrictions.
“We couldn’t touch a basketball or go to indoor gyms,” Huseinovic said. “All I did was keep my conditioning up and hit the weight room. We also didn’t have any preseason big games, we didn’t have any scrimmages, exhibition games, we didn’t get any full practices. I feel like that affected me a lot. Overall, the outcome was better than I thought it was going to be so I am also happy with that. The fact that we also get an extra year is also big time.”
After the first couple weeks of practice, Huseinovic has a good feeling about the Wolf Pack this year.
“This year we are going to be much better than last year,” Huseinovic said. “I feel like last year we were pretty good, we were just young and inexperienced. We had four freshmen, this year we got two great freshmen coming in who are also really good. Also the freshmen who were last year, me, Tré, Dre, Daniel, we are much more experienced than last year. We also got good transfers. So we are a very deep team. I think we are going to turn a lot of heads this year.”
Huseinovic brings a lot to the Nevada basketball team. Stats may be a big thing to look at, but personality is just as important.
“Personality wise I feel like I’m a very fun person to be around,” Huseinovic said. “Always moving around, never too serious. Skill wise, I say I bring shooting mostly and then also IQ: knowing when to do stuff or what to do in what situation.”
Being at Nevada, Huseinovic has made special event appearances on behalf of the Wolf Pack.
“The Reno Aces wanted to get more connected with UNR and the athletes and students,” Huseinovic said. “They reached out to our staff and asked if two guys wanted to throw out the first pitch and me and my teammate Nick Davidson were working out when our staff came in and asked us if we wanted to throw the first pitch. We said yeah we’re down. It was a cool experience and all. We were supposed to get some merchandise, but didn’t because we left to go to class right after.”
Nevada men’s basketball has their first game on Nov. 9 at the Lawlor Events Center against Eastern Washington.
Kelsey Middleton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kelsmiddleunr