Follow FIBA on Facebook
Plenty of World Cup quality in Serbia's EuroBasket 2015 squad
BELGRADE (EuroBasket 2015) - Serbia have announced a 24-man preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2015 which includes 10 players from the side that reached the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Final.
The only absentees from the Serbian team that fell to the United States in the title game are veteran big men Nenad Krstic and Rasko Katic.
Krstic turns 32 in July and has missed a lot of games through injury this season with Anadolu Efes, although he returned to top form and helped the club make it to the playoffs of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.
He had indicated after the World Cup that it might have been his last event with the national team.
In his absence, Milos Teodosic has been named as the new captain.
Serbia were a surprise package at the World Cup and coach Aleksandar Djordjevic accepts that expectations have been raised.
"We do not have the right not to contest for the medals [as we did at the World Cup]," Djordjevic said at a press conference in Belgrade after announcing the preliminary squad.
"It will be a difficult task but, since my arrival, my goal has been to guide the team to Rio [2016 Olympics], so I want us to reach the EuroBasket Final.
"This is our goal and there is no hiding."
The two sides that reach the Final will qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Games, while the teams that end up third, fourth, fifth and sixth will be invited to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
There is plenty for Serbian basketball fans to be excited about.
Nedovic played a significant role for Serbia under former coach Dusan Ivkovic at EuroBasket 2013 but had to miss last year's tournament because of injury.
Milosavljevic and Dangubic are both aiming to make the senior national team for the first time in their careers after suiting up for Serbia at youth level in the past.
Keselj, who had turned heads with his fantastic displays at the 2010 World Cup in Turkey, dropped off the national team radar following the summer of 2012 but has had a good season with Mega Leks.
Turkish Airlines Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica and fellow World Cup silver-medalist Stefan Bircevic headline a list of power forwards which also includes Luka Mitrovic and returnees Milan Macvan and Zoran Erceg.
Mitrovic narrowly missed out on making last year's World Cup squad.
"Erceg was consistently good in European play these past two seasons [with Galatasaray] and he was supposed to be in the squad last year, too, but he had a problem with his Achilles tendon," Djordjevic said.
He's [Erceg] told me that he is ready to help and he might be of interest when we employ certain tactical sets - Djordjevic
Despite the absence of Krstic and Katic, coach Djordjevic will be spoiled for choice at the center position, thanks to Serbia's abundance of talent.
Miroslav Raduljica, who played big minutes at the World Cup, spent half the season in China with Shandong Lions and had a brief spell at Minnesota Timberwolves which was cut short due to injury.
He is nevertheless in the squad, along with center Vladimir Stimac, another member of Serbia's World Cup team.
Boban Marjanovic and Ognjen Kuzmic are other centers in the mix.
Crvena Zvezda big man Marjanovic posted career-best figures this season and made the All-Euroleague First Team.
Kuzmic of Golden State was in the preliminary World Cup roster but was hurt and did not travel to Spain.
The 24 players will gather on 15 July in Belgrade to undergo medical tests with Serbia's training camp getting under way four days later, in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
Djordjevic's men will play their first warm-up game in the Slovenian resort against Hungary, on 2 August, with friendlies against France and Slovenia penned in for 5 and 6 August, before the start of warm-up tournaments.
Serbia preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2015: Stefan Bircevic, Nemanja Bjelica, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Dangubic, Zoran Erceg, Nikola Jokic, Stefan Jovic, Nikola Kalinic, Marko Keselj, Ognjen Kuzmic, Milan Macvan, Djordje Majsotorovic, Boban Marjanovic, Stefan Markovic, Vasilije Micic, Dragan Milosavljevic, Nikola Milutinov, Luka Mitrovic, Nemanja Nedovic, Miroslav Raduljica, Marko Simonovic, Vladimir Stimac, Milos Teodosic, Rade Zagorac.
Go to eurobasket2015.org for full coverage of EuroBasket 2015.