BELGRADE (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) – Serbia boss Aleksandar Djordjevic, who reduced his FIBA EuroBasket 2017 squad to 17 players on Monday, will have to look for a new ace down his sleeve with Nikola Jokic officially ruled out for the summer.
The 49-year-old playcaller also did not include Nemanja Bjelica, Nikola Milutinov and Nemanja Dangubic in the narrowed-down candidate list after being informed they will not be able to represent the national team in Istanbul this summer.
In spite of losing some of their might, Serbia have ceded little in terms of glitz, glamor and medal aspirations alike, with team captain Milos Teodosic headlining a still uniquely talented group of players, most of whom formed the core of the Olympic silver-medal winning roster in Rio 2016.
In addition to his star playmaker, coach Djordjevic will have nine more Olympians available for selection in Stefan Bircevic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Stefan Jovic, Nikola Kalinic, Milan Macvan, Nemanja Nedovic, Miroslav Raduljica, Marko Simonovic and Vladimir Stimac.
To ensure Serbia aren't left short-handed at the center position in the absence of Jokic and Milutinov, coach Djordjevic will be bringing the 28-year-old Detroit Pistons giant Boban Marjanovic, who last played for the national team at the FIBA EuroBasket 2011, and Crvena Zvezda big man Ognjen Kuzmic, who took part at the FIBA EuroBasket 2015, back into the fold.
The 22-year-old Denver Nuggets rising star Jokic decided to skip international play to devote his summer to personal development, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Bjelica is still recovering from an injury, while Milutinov and Nemanja Dangubic will spend the summer with the San Antonio Spurs, trying to earn roster spots in the NBA.
The team's FIBA EuroBasket 2017 preparations will begin on July 20 in Belgrade, swiftly transferring to the resort town of Kapaonik for physical preparation. Serbia will participate in three friendly tournaments in Belgrade, Hamburg and Athens before heading back to the Serbian capital Serbia, who won silver at FIBA EuroBasket 2015 in France two years ago, will play against Belgium, Great Britain, Latvia, Russia and the hosts Turkey in the Istanbul-based Group D.
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Note: Due to the difference between different monitors, the picture may not reflect the actual color of the item. Thank you!
1Pair x Arm sleeves