By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Buducnost center Alen Omic was done with doping control almost 90 minutes following the end of the EuroLeague game of his team against Olympiacos in Piraeus.
There wasn’t much to talk about regarding the match itself (save for the unprecedented performance of Olympiacos big Zach LeDay) which was a rout, so inevitably the conversation shifted to Slovenia being eliminated from contention of a 2020 World Cup ticket, due to the loss to Ukraine in a game that had taken place a day before (29/11).
“I don’t know. I don’t look too much at what the Slovenian national team is going because I’m fully focused on Buducnost,” Omic told Eurohoops when asked about his country’s national team not participating in next year’s World Cup.
While visibly in pain following a rather nasty fall on the floor he had during the third quarter of the game and despite the late of the hour, Omic proceeded to open up regarding his current status with the national team and his strained relationship with the Slovenian Federation, in a discussion, that continued as follows:
– You must have some thoughts about Slovenian being eliminated.
– Really, I don’t think about that, at all. It’s not my problem. Look: They miss a lot of players. A lot of good players. They are out maybe because of that. They won’t play until the EuroBasket 2021.
– And they will miss the Olympic Games unless they get a wild card for the Qualifiers. The question is, why do you feel that way regarding the national team?
– They changed some things when they brought Anthony Randolph. Since then, I haven’t talked too much with them.
– You sound bothered.
– Yes, I’m a bit angry about that situation. I was surprised when they did it. Because I gave a lot to Slovenia. I went and lived there. I bought a house there. I gave everything to Slovenia. When I heard that they want to bring Randolph. Now, nobody calls me because they know I’m a little angry.
There need to be some changes in the national team. You see many players like Luka Doncic and Klemen Prepelic that don’t come.
– Well, there’s no way that Doncic can play now.
– Alright, Doncic can’t come because he’s in the NBA. But EuroLeague players will come if they ask them. Klemen Prepelic, Jaka Blazic or me maybe. My Montenegrin teammates on Buducnost went to play with their national team.
– Yes. And Montenegro won vs. Latvia.
– See? This can happen. But they (Slovenian Federation) don’t try. They don’t ask. It’s not my decision.
– So you’re saying that you won’t play with the Slovenian national team if they invite you?
– I’ll need to think about it first. Because I was surprised at how they handled my situation. There need to change some things for me to return to the national team. I played well last season. I was in good shape. It’s not easy. Some players need to come back.
– What kind of changes are you talking about?
– It’s not easy to see what is going on regarding the future of the national team. They need to be more serious. When someone joins the national team, he needs to stay with the national team. I’m not a player who comes and goes. I played in the national team for eight years. From youth teams to the senior team. I played in the 2014 World Cup and then the 2015 EuroBasket. I have some experience on my back. But, I don’t have a medal. I give something to the national team to go to the EuroBasket. I played in the qualifiers in 2016. Then the EuroBasket comes and I’m out. Why?
Alright, if I didn’t play in the Qualifiers, that’s OK. No problem. But I gave something for the national team to be in the EuroBasket. It”s a decision of the staff and people who are inside the federation.
– Have you discussed this with Raso Nesterovic (Slovenian Federation Secretary General)?
– I don’t talk to him. I don’t call him and he doesn’t call me either.
I’m very surprised. Not only me. All the players of the Slovenian national team. And not only the players. And the whole of Slovenia in general. Ok, sure they are happy because of the medal and the trophy. They did so much for this. But what about the future? They had an amazing team in the EuroBasket. Goran Dragic, Doncic, Klemen Prepelic, Jaka Blazic. Gasper Vidmar too. Randolph played well, true. Now they lose a lot of players. Prepelic, Blazic and me.
– So what does the future hold for you regarding the Slovenian national team?
– I respect the coach a lot. He’s good. And I’ve talked to him about what happened last year. I’m ready to play for him. Only for him. And I talked with him. I talked with Prepelic and he’s like ‘let’s go play. Together’. I tell him that I need to think and then I tell the coach that I’m ready to play. I tell him that I forget everything and I’m ready to play. And then what happens? He calls me after ten days and tells me that they think different. They think that maybe Randolph will come back. And when I hear this, I tell him ‘ Thank you very much, but don’t call me anymore’. It’s not the coach’s problem. I know who’s is. If they say that we shall forget everything. When Prepelic comes back, Blazic comes back, I’ll come back too.