25 July, 2021
07 August
10 Mike Tobey (SLO)
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Player of the Day | Slovenia's Mike Tobey

TOKYO (Japan) - Put yourself in Mike Tobey's shoes. You hail from the United States, play professionally in Spain and have an opportunity to join Slovenia's national team before the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas to compete alongside Luka Doncic.

You accept. Of course you do.

And soon after, you and Slovenia are not only taking on the two teams that reached the Final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup two years ago in China, Argentina and Spain. You are beating both.

Doncic, who had 48 points in the 118-100 win over Argentina, has been sensational. But so has Mike Tobey, or as the Slovenians have taken to him, Miha.

He was crucial for Slovenia first making it to Tokyo and then storming into the Quarter-Finals with three wins in as many games.

The latest performance by Tobey, on Sunday against Spain, was his finest yet. The 2.13m (7ft 0in) center had 16 points, 14 rebounds and a game-high +26 efficiency as Slovenia prevailed, 95-87.

Tobey is our Player of the Day.

He was no doubt one of the players that Spain coach Sergio Scariolo was thinking about when he spoke about Slovenia after the game.

"They have very talented and competitive players beside Luka," Scariolo said.

Spain led by as many as 12 points but Tobey and Co. were irrepressible, moving in front with less than three minutes remaining for good.

Tobey has revealed himself to be very smart, and skilled enough to take full advantage of the opportunities to score that arise because of the genius of Doncic, or the great work of the other Slovenia players.

Against Spain, he went 7-of-12 from the floor and a perfect two-of-two at the free-throw line.

Tobey was the highest rated player for Slovenia as they clinched first place in Group C

His overall talent has to be accounted for. Argentina, Japan and today Spain had to respect his ability to hit shots from the perimeter. In Kaunas, he drilled 7-of-11 attempts from three-point range.

Tobey is an option for Doncic on pick-and-rolls. He is a perfect fit in a Slovenia team that always makes the extra pass. Tobey makes himself available always, and never fails to hustle down the floor on fast breaks to catch passes or follow up missed shots.

The naturalized spot for any national team is crucially important. Slovenia certainly boosted their chances with the incorporation of Tobey.

Tobey, whose parents back in America are so happy that he's playing at the Olympics that they are flying Slovenian and Olympic flags outside their home, had everyone hanging on his every word after the game.

"A couple of months ago I didn't even know where Slovenia was," he joked. "This is an unknown dream coming true, and I don't want to wake up."