Follow FIBA on Facebook
Doncic commits to Olympics-chasing Slovenia
DALLAS (United States) - Slovenia ace Luka Doncic is all in for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Kaunas, the superstar has confirmed.
Doncic, whose Dallas Mavericks just lost a Game 7 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Playoffs, says he is now turning his attention to the national team and its bid to reach the Olympics for the first time.
Doncic said in his end-of-season exit interview with the Mavericks, according to Dallas News reporter Callie Caplan in a tweet: "That's my next goal: qualify Slovenia to the Olympics. Going to be heading back to Slovenia to start practicing, so no vacation."
The 22-year-old last played for his country at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 and was a part of their first title-winning team, along with MVP Goran Dragic. Doncic was still only a teenager yet played so well that he earned a spot in the All-Star Five.
Doncic made the All-Star Five after Slovenia's FIBA EuroBasket 2017 triumph in Turkey
He spent another year in Europe with Real Madrid and has since taken the NBA by storm, winning the league's Rookie of the Year honor in the 2018-2019 campaign. In his second season, he played in the All-Star Game and also reached the postseason. This season, he led the Mavericks back to the playoffs with another stunning year.
Doncic, who has captivated a world audience with his performances in North America, averaged 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game this season, while shooting a career-best 35 percent (192 for 548) from three-point range. His numbers - 35.7 points and 10.3 assists per game were even better in the playoffs, as was his 40.8 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Slovenia must win the OQT in Kaunas, which tips off June 29 and concludes on July 4. Also at the tournament are hosts and traditional heavyweights Lithuania, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Quarter-Finalists Poland, as well as Korea, Venezuela and Angola.
Doncic and Co will compete in Group B with the Poles and Angolans, with the other teams in Group A. The top two sides in each group advance to the Semi-Finals, with the winner of the July 4 Final clinching a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
The winners of the OQTs in Canada, Croatia and Serbia will also join the Olympic field which is already comprised of Spain, Argentina, France, Australia, USA, Iran, Nigeria and Japan.