By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikola Jokic is excited to return to the Serbia national team but head coach Svetislav Pesic is dealing with other problems heading to the 2022 EuroBasket and the preceding 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
“For [Aleksej] Pokusevski and [Nikola] Jovic, we did not get permission from their teams,” the senior national team selector revealed regarding the players of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, respectively, “The teams want the players to work there and get ready for the new season.”
Out of the remaining players on the preliminary list, Aleksa Avramovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Dejan Davidovac, Ognjen Dobric, Marko Guduric, Marko Jagodic-Kuriza, Ognjen Jaramaz, Nikola Jokic, Nikola Kalinic, Balsa Koprivica, Vladimir Lucic, Vanja Marinkovic, Vasilije Micic, Nikola Milutinov, Nemanja Nedovic, Filip Petrusev, Dusan Ristic, Borisa Simanic, Alen Smailagic, and Milos Teodosic, two more players are currently sidelined.
“[Balsa] Koprivica and [Borisa] Simanic are ill. They are recovering at home. I hope we will get them in the next couple of days,” Pesic added during the press conference officially launching preparations for the upcoming international fixtures.
Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic was not called up for the offseason international fixtures since he underwent right knee surgery at the end of the 2021-22 season. The focus is on recovering in time to play for the Atlanta Hawks at the start of the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season.
Powered by Jokic, Serbia will face the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Finland, Israel, and Poland from 2 to 8 September in Prague. Ranking first through fourth in Group D would clinch a berth in the Round of 16. The remaining rounds will be played in Berlin and crown the next EuroBasket champion on 18 September.
A couple of contests for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, at home opposite Greece on 25 August and on the road versus Turkey three days later, will tip off Group I. Carrying a 1-3 record from the previous round, Serbia must make up lost ground to make it to the 2023 World Cup.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL