Mario Hezonja headlines Croatia call-ups, Ante Zizic is out

2024-02-15T15:32:44+00:00 2024-02-15T15:42:29+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

15/Feb/24 15:32

Candidates to represent Croatia in the approaching international window include Mario Hezonja

By Johnny Askounis/

The Croatian Basketball Federation, HKS, narrowed the preliminary squad from 24 to 16 players, inching closer to tipping off Group E of the 2025 EuroBasket qualification round.

Mario Hezonja headlines the list of players stemming from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. In contrast, Ante Zizic was ruled out from the approaching international window, confirmed head coach Josip Sesar.

Besides the EuroLeague December MVP, Roko Badzim, Luka Bozic, Danko Brankovic, Dario Dreznjak, Matteo Dreznjak, Goran Filipovic, Mate Kalajzic, Borna Kapusta, Marin Maric, Toni Nakic, Toni Perkovic, Roko Prkacin, Marko Ramljak, Jaleen Smith, and Ivan Vranes were also called up on Thursday.

Croatia visits France in Brest on February 23 and hosts Cyprus in Rijeka on February 26. With Cyprus receiving an automatic berth in the 2025 EuroBasket as one of the four hosting countries, Croatia and France along with Bosnia-Herzegovina will battle for two tickets to the final stage.

Among the countries suffering the most from overlapping schedules between the EuroLeague and FIBA’s winter fixtures through recent years, Croatia missed out on playing in the 2019 and 2023 installments of the World Cup, after reaching the Quarterfinals in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Recent misfires led to competing in the Pre-Qualifiers of the EuroBasket. Last summer, Kockasti dominated Ireland and Luxembourg to join the remaining powerhouses of Europe in the Qualifiers, one step away from the EuroBasket. They went on to top the Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Istanbul and progress to next summer’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.


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