March 3, 2007
By Emily G. Pambianchi
The adjustment that a foreign player makes when coming to the United States to play college basketball is never easy. Saint Joseph's senior Artur Surov has made the adjustment and has taken great advantage of his opportunities in the United States, and in Philadelphia. In addition to being a part of the Hawk men's basketball team, Surov has benefited from the first-class educational opportunities made available to SJU students. Senior Day on Hawk Hill is the perfect occasion to sit down with Artur Surov, a fan favorite and the team's lone senior.
Surov began his basketball career as a young child in Finland, playing under the best youth coach at age nine and joining the National Youth Team at age 13. The game became important to him; he had fun, comprehended the game, and liked his teammates. When he was 17, he made the National Men's Team in Finland and traveled to foreign countries with the squad, playing in the World University Games where his team did fairly well. He decided to head west to the United States after playing for Finland and began a one-year career at Memorial Day School in Georgia, where he averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds and led the team to the state championship game of the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
Saint Joseph's University seemed to be a natural step after his high school experience down south. "It was clearly the best program available," he says. "And I really liked Philly, I knew I wouldn't get bored." He acknowledged that SJU would provide him with an excellent level of academics too. "The package - Philly, basketball, and education - was a big influence," he explains. Basketball had provided Surov with great opportunities in Europe, and it did so again when he came to SJU. "I've seen more of America than some Americans," he jokes. He enjoys the travel schedule with the team and seeing new cities around the United States. The 2003-2004 SJU basketball season is notorious for any Hawk fan and is the year that Surov joined the team. "It set an unrealistic standard for me," he says, explaining that the team was undefeated during their season. "It was incredible," he remarks. "It's great that I played with people like Jameer and Delonte, a fun story to tell at home, and a good experience." He has continued to mesh with each year's team and develop his skills, and he is now the only senior on the team.
He knows come graduation he will return to Finland, as he has not been home for two years. Usually he tries to visit during the summer, but this past summer an interesting opportunity arose in Philadelphia for Artur. He was employed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, a non-profit organization. He enjoyed the pace of the job, as well as the perks; concerts for free and meeting people of different culture and musical talent. "There is more to a lot of us on the team than just basketball," Surov says. While he does not study an instrument, he is interested in music and likes listening to his teammates play their instruments. Although he did not return to Finland this past summer he was able to discover he enjoyed working with a non-profit company. "It was a great place to be," he details. He doesn't have anything definite planned for after graduation and will be content whether or not basketball is in his future. He is looking forward to returning home once he leaves Hawk Hill, with his management degree from the Haub School of Business