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Serbia pick 12-man roster for Belgrade OQT
BELGRADE (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Serbia head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic announced on Saturday the 12 players who will make up the roster of the hosts at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade.
|Serbia 12-player roster for 2016 FIBA OQT Belgrade|
|Bogdan Bogdanovic||Stefan Bircevic||Nemanja Dangubic||Nikola Jokic|
|Stefan Jovic||Nikola Kalinic||Stefan Markovic||Nemanja Nedovic|
|Miroslav Raduljica||Marko Simonovic||Vladimir Stimac||Milos Teodosic|
The three men who did not make the final cut are power forward Milan Macvan as well as up-and-coming guards Marko Guduric and Rade Zagorac. Macvan suffered an unfortunate minor accident at home and fractured a toe at the start of preparations. Djordjevic waited for him up until the 11th hour but, although the big man recovered and started light training, he could not get into game shape in time for the tournament, which tips off Monday.
Guduric and Zagorac meanwhile, both members of the Serbian side that conquered gold at last summer's FIBA U20 European Championship, will stay on with the team and help out in practices during the OQT.
🇷🇸🇷🇸🇷🇸🇷🇸🇷🇸🇷🇸 pic.twitter.com/ZMEvpfquPC— Vladimir Stimac (@stimac15) 19 June 2016
Two young players will be making their senior national team debut at the OQT. Forward Nemanja Dangubic was poised to make Serbia's roster for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup but suffered a knee injury during preparations, while he also missed out at last summer's FIBA EuroBasket 2015.
While the 23-year-old Dangubic had represented Serbia at youth level in four competitions, Nikola Jokic had previously stepped out for the national team only at the FIBA U19 World Championship of 2013.
The 21-year-old Denver Nuggets big man had an excellent rookie NBA season and he is expected to play a significant role for Serbia this summer, especially in the absence of Macvan and Nemanja Bjelica, who is undergoing rehabilitation and was ruled out of the OQT early on.
"We know that we are ready to go and we are eager for the games to start already," said Serbia captain Milos Teodosic. "We could not be more motivated. Maybe having just 20 days of preparations is not too much, but this is the third year we are working with coach Djordjevic so we already know well what he wants and demands from us. Our hope and our aim is to make it to Olympic Games."
Serbia play their opening game at the OQT on Monday night, against Puerto Rico, and the following day they take on Angola in Group A action. If they advance, they will face one of the Czech Republic, Japan or Latvia in one of the two semi-finals, on Friday.