29 July, 2016
07 August
4 Ognjen CARAPIC (Montenegro); 4 Lassi Paavo V. NIKKARINEN (Finland)
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Montenegro with the potential to fulfil Mission Division A

PODGORICA (2016 FIBA U18 European Championship Division B) - Montenegro have a group of very talented players and go into the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship Division B with the sole goal of promotion. 

"Our objective is to get back into the Division A," said Montenegro guard Ognjen Carapic, one of the leaders on one of the top contenders for promotion at the tournament in Skopje from 29 July-7 August. 

"Each player on our team has great potential, and I think we have the best chances to secure a spot in Division A." - Carapic

The top three finishers will be promoted to Division A for next summer. Montenegro have been drawn into Group B along with Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Portugal and Romania

"We do not know a lot about our opponents, so I cannot say how hard is it going to be for us. But I am sure there are many good teams out there with the same goal as us," Carapic said.

The Bar native spent the 2015-16 season with the Buducnost Voli Podgorica senior team and getting some quality playing time, including averaging 2.3 points in 12 Adriatic League games. 

Montenegro have a lot of good talent on their team besides Carapic, including Milos Popovic, Andrija Slavkovic, Milos Divac who plays in Italy and Ivan Raut, who is getting game experience in Spain.

Montenegro have good talent with hopes of promotion to Division A.

"Each player on our team has great potential, and I think we have the best chances to secure a spot in Division A," Carapic said. "I think it is very important for my team-mates and me to get the promotion and help the next generation to play Division A - like we did two years ago when we won the gold medal."

Carapic, Popovic, Divac and Raut joined forces in 2014 to take the title of the FIBA U16 European Championship Division B. That quartet was not enough however with the top 1997-born players to remain in Division A at U18 level last summer. Montenegro beat Germany, Croatia and Czech Republic during the tournament but lost to Finland in the decisive Classification 13-14 game and were sent to Division B. Carapic averaged 16.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists but only played four of the team’s nine games. 

"Last year I was injured most of the games, and it was very difficult to see my team struggle without me and some other very important players who were injured as well," Carapic said, referring to Popovic missing the final three games after averaging 16.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 assists until getting injured. "Even if we won three games last year we got sent to Division B. It was very disappointing."