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25 August, 2023
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30/08/2023
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Serbia star Bogdanovic: ''I missed this''

MANILA (Philippines) - Serbia fans were not the only ones happy about Bogdan Bogdanovic coming back to the national team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. The star guard himself has really loved playing for his country again for the first time since the 2019 World Cup.

"I missed it," said Bogdanovic, who leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals for the 2-0 Serbs. "Hanging out with the guys, the teammates. Representing the country, wearing the jersey and all the struggles that come with it as well - not just the good things."

Bogdanovic was a regular for Serbia, playing at the 2014 and 2019 World Cups - the latter where he was the top scorer and made the All-Star Five. He also appeared at the 2016 Olympics and the 2013, 2015 and 2017 FIBA EuroBaskets.

But the now 31-year-old did not play at the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament or the 2022 EuroBasket.

"I missed them of course, but I gotta rest," Bogdanovic said.

But the Atlanta Hawks scoring ace is back to being a leader for Serbia.

"I feel amazing. There is pressure but it's a privilege to be under the pressure and to be in the position to make some decisions on the court and off the court. It's a cool thing and it's a privilege," he said.

Young star Nikola Jovic has really valued having Bogdanovic back as he makes his Serbian senior team debut.

"It's amazing. You can see that it's something he desires, admires and something he really lives for. It's great to see him healthy and playing," said Jovic, who has been kind of a Robin to Bogdanovic's Batman with 13.0 points per game.

Bogdanovic's return however has seen him come back to a new coach with the legendary Svetislav Pesic after playing all those years for Aleksandar Djordjevic. Bogdanovic is still working on figuring things out in the new system, shooting just 35 percent from the field including 28 percent from long range.

"Bogdan is one of the most important players, no question. But he needs time and we as coaches need time to see what he can do and how he can help the team," Pesic said.

 

"He hasn't played for the national team since the last World Cup - also not for a European club. Most of the people will say basketball is basketball, yes. But there is a big difference between NBA and FIBA basketball. There is not a lot of time in preparations. We invested a lot in talking to him and adapting him or the team to him. And step by step we have found a good rhythm."

Like Bogdanovic said, he is enjoying the good and tough moments. And Serbian fans - as well as basketball lovers from around the world - are happy to have him back.

FIBA