22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
77 Luka Doncic (SLO), 3 Goran Dragic (SLO)
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Doncic, Dragic eager to run it back like EuroBasket 2017

LJUBLJANA (Slovenia) - The dynamic duo of Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic are back together in national team colors as they look to write another chapter in Slovenia's basketball history.

Almost five years on from the historic FIBA EuroBasket 2017 triumph, Dragic is set for his competitive international return out of retirement when Slovenia take on Croatia on Thursday in front of a sellout crowd.

Doncic was the star last summer in leading Slovenia to a maiden appearance at the Olympics and now the two want to send their country along the right track towards the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 after missing out on the last edition.



"It's a nice feeling to be back," said Dragic, via Slovenian news outlet Sio1NET. "It's nice to be with the guys again. The chemistry from five years ago is still there. But we're a little older, and training and recovery is a little harder."

Dragic's return comes at an important juncture of the qualifying campaign and the 36-year-old is relishing the opportunity to take to the court alongside Doncic once again having struck up an impressive partnership with the then teenager back in 2017.

"Even then he showed what he is capable of," he said. "I was already saying at that time that if Luka was not in the team, we would not be able to play like that, we would not be able to win this title. [Head coach] Igor Kokoskov set the game so that the ball would be either in mine or Luka's hands.

"He was only 18. It was phenomenal that he played such a EuroBasket at that age and he was selected in the All-Star Five I already said at the time that he would be one of the best players in the world. I'm not wrong.

"At the [Tokyo] Olympics, we saw that he's the team leader now. The other players will follow him. He is a player who gives all his teammates the belief that they can win. I am honored to be able to end my national team career alongside Luka. I will follow him, and he will do what he knows."

Slovenia have a 2-2 record in Group C as they prepare for the final window that begins with the aforementioned home game against Croatia. An important game, an important occasion and one that is recognized by the home supporters as they were quick to sell out Stozice Arena in Ljubljana. 

"Playing in front of a full hall that cheers only for you, for us, will be a real spectacle," said Doncic. "We thank everyone who has bought tickets and I know they will also watch from home, so almost the whole of Slovenia will watch. We are honored."

Dragic added, "We can't wait for this game. We know how important it is. I can't wait to wear the Slovenian jersey, to play in front of a full Stozice. And let's go for the victory."

Victory against Croatia would cement Slovenia's place in the Second Round and take another important step towards qualifying in the long road to the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan in 2023.