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Twin towers Vucevic and Dubljevic headline Montenegro's initial list
PODGORICA (Montenegro) - They may be the smallest nation to ever book a ticket to the FIBA Basketball World Cup, but "smallest" is the last word on your mind when you see Montenegro's 20-man list.
Coach Zvezdan Mitrovic is still in high spirits after winning the French LNB Pro A League with his ASVEL squad, and there will be no shortage of height in his final selection, either. He announced the 20-man list with 20 days to go until the preparation camp begins in nation's capital Podgorica.
|Montenegro's 20-player preliminary squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019|
|Milko Bjelica||Ognjen Carapic||Igor Drobnjak||Bojan Dubljevic|
|Nemanja Djurisic||Pavle Djurisic||Nikola Ivanovic||Jovan Kljajic|
|Derek Needham||Aleksa Popovic||Petar Popovic||Dino Radoncic|
|Nemanja Radovic||Blagota Sekulic||Marko Simonovic||Sead Sehovic|
|Suad Sehovic||Marko Todorovic||Nemanja Vranjes||Nikola Vucevic|
Orlando Magic's franchise player Nikola Vucevic is the biggest star of the team. The seven-footer will have his twin tower helping down low again, with Valencia's Bojan Dubljevic there to provide more firepower in the painted area.
Along with the 6ft 9in (2.05m) big man, players like Milko Bjelica, Nemanja Radovic, Blagota Sekulic, Marko Simonovic and Marko Todorovic provide a lot of depth for Coach Mitrovic for the power forward and center positions.
Nikola Ivanovic of Buducnost Voli Podgorica will be responsible for most of the backcourt duties, and Derek Needham is making his return to the naturalized spot for Montenegro. The 28-year-old guard completely deserved the call, almost single-handedly taking Montenegro to their most important win of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, when he torched Ukraine with 26 points in 27 minutes of work on the penultimate day of the campaign.
Continuing the brotherly theme of World Cup team announcements are the Sehovic brothers, Suad and Sead, while the four youngsters Simonovic (19), Igor Drobnjak (19), Pavle Djurisic (19) and Jovan Kljajic (17) are there to pick up valuable experience for the future of the national team.
Montenegro will face Greece, New Zealand and Brazil in Group F in Nanjing. Top two teams will advance to form a new group with the top two of Group E, in which USA, Turkey, Czech Republic and Japan will battle it out.