Don't define Miami's Dejan Vasiljevic as only a 3-point shooter

University of Miami sharpshooter Dejan Vasiljevic has made a life out of redefining himself over and over.

Born in Calgary and Alberta-bound until age 6, Vasiljevic and his family would eventually move to Melbourne, Australia, more than 8,500 miles away -- essentially, the opposite side of the world.

"I'm Canadian," the 6-foot-3 combo guard notes without a trace of Australian accent. "But Australia has been home for most of my life."

The son of semipro Serbian handball players, basketball wasn't a priority in his youth. In fact, sports included pretty much everything but basketball.

"My mom was really into soccer," Vasiljevic says. "So, growing up, I played that and tennis for fun with friends. Cricket, too. I didn't really pick basketball up until I was 12."

That might come as a shock to Canes fans: Vasiljevic is currently third in the ACC in 3-pointers made. He's also ninth in 3-point percentage and seventh in true shooting percentage (minimum 50 3-point attempts). With 172 career treys, he's 10th on Miami's career list.

In Melbourne, when Dejan's father, Todor, saw that his son had a knack for basketball, he wanted to mold his game after the late, great Croatian player Drazen Petrovic, the early European expat who helped pave the way for the truly global modern NBA.

"My dad idolized him," Vasiljevic recalls. "He would cut old black-and-white footage so I could see how passionate he was. He wanted me to play like he did.

"He would point and say, 'That's who you can become.'"

That passion took Vasiljevic to the Australian Institute of Sport, and soon afterward, he blossomed on the under-17, U18 and U19 Australian national teams. In 2014, Vasiljevic was an all-tournament team member at the U-17 FIBA World Championship, leading Australia to a silver medal against a United States squad that included current NBA players Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson.

Given his pedigree, American colleges came after Vasiljevic in hot pursuit.

"Stanford, Miami, LSU, Louisville, Cal-Berkeley," Vasiljevic says nonchalantly. "Miami was the best opportunity, academically and on the court. The coaches wanted to give me an opportunity, and my family loved Miami, so it seemed like the best fit."

Hurricanes head coach Jim Larrañaga was elated.

"DJ is a tough, hard-nosed defender with a unique set of offensive skills," Larrañaga says. "He's got a high basketball IQ, he [can] fill up the basket from deep and has a great feel for the game.

"[We] like recruiting guys from winning situations. DJ is a great competitor, has proven himself in championships on the international level and he's been a terrific fit in our program."

Vasiljevic had an immediate impact, playing every game as a freshman in 2016-17. He set a Miami rookie record for 3-pointers made despite coming off the bench and playing just 17.5 minutes per game. He was starting by his sophomore season, nearly doubling his rebounding total while becoming one of the ACC's most lethal long-distance men, improving his 3-point field goal percentage from 35 percent to 41 percent.

"The first two years were a learning curve," Vasiljevic admits. "It's insane how quick the game is being played. Here, you're playing against bigger, stronger guys who can pass and move.

"I had to consider that and really work on my defense. I'm never gonna be the quickest guy out there, so I always know where I need to be, in the right position at all times. I scout the other team really well."

Another thing about Vasiljevic: He is meticulous. Ask his roommate.

"DJ is very organized," laughs center Ebuka Izundu, Vasiljevic's roommate for the past two years. Vasiljevic's punctiliousness is a subject of debate between the two. "We're both clean ... but he's very clean.

"He plans ahead, he gets things right," Izundu adds. "He comes an hour before games, gets treatment, shoots for a beat, then [centers] his body."

Vasiljevic's meticulousness manifests itself in a pregame routine that resembles a hardened mine worker rather than that of a 21-year-old college junior.

"DJ lives in the gym," Larrañaga says. "He is constantly perfecting his shot and works tirelessly to improve all facets of his game."

"On game days, I do things at a certain time," Vasiljevic says. "I always stretch with my strength coach at a certain time, always get taped at a certain time. Then I have little pregame rituals with the team -- I always follow my schedule the day before and the day of a game, so I know what to do and when to do it."

Outside of team scouting sessions, Vasiljevic comes in for solo video scouting. And that nearly 40 percent career mark from 3-point range? Not an accident.

"And I always have to make 300 shots before a game," Vasiljevic asserts. "Well ... 305, actually ... I always do things in order. Always."

Vasiljevic's diligence is also literally embodied in his physical transformation from his sophomore to junior season.

"DJ got injured last year and worked tirelessly to recover in time for this season," Larrañaga remembers. "He got in the best shape of his career and has the opportunity to leave the University of Miami as one of the top shooters in program history."

Shockingly, it wasn't Vasiljevic who led the metamorphosis.

"All the credit goes to my girlfriend, Gemma," he says.

If that sounds cliché, think again; Gemma St. Louis is a pre-med neuroscience and Spanish major at Miami. She engineered a diet and lifestyle plan -- two meals a day, breakfast and an early dinner, and cut out carbs -- that enabled Vasiljevic to lose 25 pounds, shedding 10 percent body fat, while recovering.

Miami has stumbled a bit since starting ACC play. The Hurricanes are 4-9 from the beginning of December and 9-11 for the season. Come March, Vasiljevic knows he will have a decision to make.

"I graduate in May," he says. "I could come back for my senior year and work on a master's or declare [for the NBA draft]."

"But I'm not worried about that right now. I'm just trying to concentrate on the season. I just try to be efficient and do my job. Do what I can for my teammates and do the little things to help my team win."

For a young man who is the composite of cultures and countries on opposite sides of the planet, Vasiljevic has no qualms about his place in the world.