25 August, 2023
10 September
4 Nikola Vucevic (MNE)
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Vucevic will play for Montenegro at World Cup

CHICAGO (USA) - Montenegro proved once again it is home to some of the best basketball players in Europe when the national team qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the second time in a row.

Now the country wants to go one step more and improve on their previous performance at the tournament, something that could happen with Nikola Vucevic firmly declaring in March 2023 his hope to play at the event again.


The 12-year NBA veteran and two-time All-Star has told the MINA agency: "As far as I'm concerned, I have a desire to play at the World Cup. I would like to be a participant in the championship, just like four years ago in China.

"I had a nice and quite optimist conversation with Nikola," Montenegro coach Bosko Radovic said to Vijesti early June.

"He'll be available this summer, he’ll attend the preparations and play at the World Cup. There's even a possibility that he'll be with us from the beginning of the preparations."

Vucevic averaged 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds at the last World Cup, giving him a team high efficiency of 14.8.

Montenegro won one of their four games, against Japan in the Classification Round, yet that record could have been much better had they managed to eke out victories over New Zealand and Brazil in their Group Phase games.

Montenegro led early in the fourth quarter against the Tall Blacks before falling, 93-83, and they trailed by just one against Brazil with four minutes remaining yet lost that one, too, 84-73.

The 2.08m (6ft 10in) Vucevic, who has not played for Montenegro since, would be a huge get for the team.  He is averaging 17.7 points and 11.3 rebounds for Chicago, who are 33-37 and contending for a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Even without him, Montenegro impressed at FIBA EuroBasket 2022 and advanced to the Round of 16 before falling to hosts Germany, 85-79.

Radovic said of Vucevic: "He'll be available this summer, he’ll attend the preparations and play at the World Cup."

Montenegro punched their ticket for the 2023 World Cup, which is to be played in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, from August 25 to September 10. 

Montenegro, which became an independent country in 2006 and only started played in international competition as Montenegro in 2008, caused a big stir when it qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2019.

It was then the country with the smallest population (estimated 622,000) to take part in the 32-team event. Cape Verde who qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in February are now the owner of this title.

"It's a great result to participate in the World Cup again," Vucevic said. "Kudos to the boys for the great qualification."