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Jokic, Marjanovic, Bjelica among Serbia call-ups
BELGRADE (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) – Serbia playcaller Aleksandar Djordjevic revealed his 25-player candidate list for FIBA EuroBasket 2017, with a star-studded cast further fueling the nation's medal aspirations for the summer.
|Serbia preliminary 25-player squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017|
|Stefan Bircevic||Nemanja Bjelica||Bogdan Bogdanovic||Nemanja Dangubic||Dejan Davidovac|
|Ognjen Dobric||Marko Guduric||Ognjen Jaramaz||Nikola Jokic||Stefan Jovic|
|NIkola Kalinic||Ognjen Kuzmic||Branko Lazic||Vladimir Lucic||Milan Macvan|
|Boban Marjanovic||Vasilje Micic||Dragan Milosavljevic||Nikola Milutinov||Nemanja Nedovic|
|Miroslav Raduljica||Aleksa Radanov||Marko Simonovic||Vladimir Stimac||Milos Teodosic|
Although their participation is yet to be fully confirmed, the squad includes all three of the country's NBA players – Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica.
Meanwhile, national team captain Milos Teodosic heads an equally impressive lineup of Europe-based players, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nikola Kalinic, Nikola Milutinov among many other stand-out names.
"There’s no running away from the fact that every time we get together, we aim for the medals. That’s how it’s going to be this summer as well."Aleksandar Djordjevic
In a press conference held in Belgrade on Monday, the national team head coach Djordjevic confirmed that Serbia will traditionally be aiming for medal positions, no matter who are the players on the team heading to Turkey.
"There's no running away from the fact that every time we get together, we aim for the medals. That's how it's going to be this summer as well. Our captain Teodosic had mentioned that a lot might depend on our roster, but with the quality of players Serbia have, we shouldn't be setting the bar any lower than that," said the man on the sidelines.
Coming off silver-medal performances in the Rio Olympic Games 2016 and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014, Serbia will be looking to get back on the podium on the European stage as well, having last secured a medal at FIBA EuroBasket 2009.
Having suffered a season-ending foot injury and reported to be unlikely to suit up for the national team, Nemanja Bjelica is the biggest question-mark on the squad.
"I talked to all of the players during the season, but no one knew what could still happen until the end of their seasons. All of them are healthy, except for Bjelica, and I see no reason to decline the invitation," said the 49-year-old strategist, who is expected to reduce the squad to 18 players before the start of training camp.
Undoubtedly among the teams to watch this summer, Serbia will face rather fierce competition for the top places and guiding the team all the way will be no easy task for coach Djordjevic.
"Turkey are always 30 percent better at home, Lithuania will arrive to be in full strength, Spain will have Marc Gasol and the Greeks will be led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. There is also Croatia with momentum from last year, as well as France, Italy and Slovenia," stated the coach running through a long list of possible rivals for medal positions.
Serbia will begin their FIBA EuroBasket 2017 journey in the Istanbul-based Group D with Belgium, Great Britain, Latvia, Russia and the hosts Turkey.