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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- A Federal Way high school student s path to basketball success is driven by family sacrifice.

Bogdan Bliznyuk, 18, moved to Federal Way with his mom and brother in 2001 for a better life. The star forward for Todd Beamer High School credits his accomplishments on the court to the support of his family, especially his older brother Dima, 21.

He s been basically a father figure in my life. He provides supports with his words and financially too, said Bogdan.

At 16, Dima Bliznyuk dropped out of school and started a full-time construction job to provide for his family and pay for Bogdan to play basketball.

Anything that needed to be done, I felt like it was my responsibility. Whatever he needs, if I m able to help him out I do it, said Dima.

From paying for basketball camps to new shoes for Bogdan, Dima knew the expenses were an investment.

I was like man, he can do something with it, he can go somewhere. So I just pushed him, said Dima.

But according to Bogdan, his brother s biggest gift is a strong work ethic.

If something isn t going good, I m going to keep at it, keep striving to succeed, said Bogdan.

That drive is rubbing off on his team, which considers Bogdan a family member.

He s an A student, but he has A+ character, said Winston Bell, his coach. Whether it s playing basketball, playing for the country of Ukraine or straight into business I know he s going to be successful.

With his home country facing threats of war, Bogdan hopes his people take a similar approach.

You can t let anything stop you, any difficulties, any bad situation, any person. You can t let anyone pull you back from what you re trying to accomplish, said Bogdan.

Bogdan s team faces Gonzaga Prep in the first round of the 4A State Basketball Championship Thursday night.


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