But basketball did work out, as Kovacevic successfully walked on to the Cal men's basketball team.
He was the only walk-on added to the 2005-06 Golden Bears roster, which bears four walk-on players, overall.
Kovacevic, 18, returned to the southland this week as Cal took on USC Thursday in the opening round of the Pac-10 men's basketball tournament at Staples Center.
A victory over the Trojans would put Cal into today's semifinal round. The tournament final is Saturday.
The winner of the tournament receives the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which begins March 16.
Cal finished third during the regular season in Pac-10 play, behind champion UCLA and second-place Washington.
"It's been an exciting year and I'm excited to be going to the Staples Center," he said. "It's been a great first year of college for me, that's for sure."
Kovacevic, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds during his senior year at Laguna. He was named co-MVP of the Pacific Coast League and earned all-CIF honors for the second-straight year. He also played volleyball at the school for the first time and was first on the team in blocks and second in kills.
He was a big fish in the basketball program at a small school such as Laguna. Now, he's trying to navigate his was at big-time Cal.
Through then-Laguna athletic director Ron Schwartz, Kovacevic said he was able to send out game tape to Cal. He tried out for the Golden Bears in October, and went on to earn a spot on the Cal roster.
Playing time this year has been brief for Kovaecvic. He has played a total of seven minutes in eight game appearances, has made two of four field goal attempts ? good for four points ? and has four rebounds, three off the offensive glass.
He's made road trips with the team to Eastern Michigan, the Arizona and Oregon schools in Pac-10 play, and to arch-rival Stanford.