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Gold medal candidates? Serbia announce their deepest squad in years
BELGRADE (Serbia) - Serbia look set to contend for a podium finish at a second straight FIBA Basket World Cup with coach Aleksandar Djordjevic having announced on Friday a star-studded 34-man preliminary list of players for the tournament.
Nikola Jokic, coming off an all-star season with the Denver Nuggets that earned him All-NBA First Team honors, leads the way for Serbia, along with Sacramento Kings duo Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica. Philadelphia 76ers center Boban Marjanovic is also on the list, as well as Milos Teodosic, Vasilije Micic, Nikola Kalinic, Nikola Milutinov and Miroslav Raduljica.
The 31-year-old Raduljica knows all about basketball in China, having played for Jiangsu Dragons since 2017.
|Serbia's 34-player man list for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019|
|Dragan Apic||Aleksa Avramovic||Stefan Bircevic||Nemanja Bjelica|
|Bogdan Bogdanovic||Nemanja Dangubic||Ilija Djokovic||Ognjen Dobric|
|Marko Guduric||Ognjen Jaramaz||Stevan Jelovac||Nikola Jokic|
|Nikola Jovanovic||Stefan Jovic||Nikola Kalinic||Dejan Kravic|
|Ognjen Kuzmic||Branko Lazic||Vladimir Lucic||Milan Macvan|
|Vanja Marinkovic||Boban Marjanovic||Vasilije Micic||Dragan Milosavljevic|
|Nikola Milutinov||Nikola Miskovic||Nemanja Nedovic||Stefan Pot|
|Miroslav Raduljica||Borisa Simanic||Marko Simonovic||Milos Teodosic|
|Dejan Todorovic||Rade Zagorac|
Serbia were runners-up at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain five years ago after falling to the United States in the Final. They lost to the USA again in the Gold Medal Game of the Rio Olympics while Slovenia beat Serbia in the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Final.
Djordjevic's men will tip off their training camp on July 21 at the Kopaonik mountain before moving on to Cacak, Zrenjanin and Belgrade for friendly games. They will then travel to Lithuania and Greece for additional preparation games, before flying to China on August 20.
Serbia will compete in Group D with Italy, Angola and the Philippines. A top-two finish would put them in Second Round Group J and they would meet the top two sides from a Group C that is made up of Spain, Tunisia, Puerto Rico and Iran.
The countries that finish first and second in Group J will advance to the Quarter-Finals.
Serbia will play the first game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, against Angola, on August 31, at 9:30 CET (15:30 local).
Full list of preparation games:
- Borac Cacak v Serbia (Cacak, August 4)
- Serbia v Finland (Zrenjanin, August 7)
- Serbia v Lithuania (Belgrade, August 10)
- Lithuania v Serbia (Kaunas, August 12)
- Acropolis Cup with Greece, Italy, Turkey (Athens, August 16-18)
- Serbia v Italy (Shenyang, August 23)
- Serbia v New Zealand (Shenyang, August 25)
- Serbia v France (Shenyang, August 27)