The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Confident ahead of 2015 EuroBasket Campaign


Head coach Jure Zdovc says that the coaching staff and the team are optimistic about their chances at the tournament.

The team will travel today to the Croatian capital, where they will play five matches in six days. Apart from Croatia, their opponents are Georgia, the Netherlands, Greece and Macedonia.

In the warm-up friendly matches, especially in the last part, Slovenia had some excellent performances, which inspired both the players and fans with optimism.

"We are not a team that will stand out in terms of names, but we will be feisty instead and we will want to prove ourselves. I promise that we will give our maximum in every match and try to satisfy the expectations from the public," captain Jure Balažič said.

Balažič thinks that making it among top 4 teams in Europe would be a huge success, while not managing to make it to the knock-out round of 16 would be a failure.

Zdovc added that all 12 players on the roster are healthy and motivated. "We are leaving for Zagreb optimistic...the latest performances have inspired us with self-confidence and proven that we have noting to be afraid of."

The head coach believes that Slovenia will be backed up by a huge number of Slovenian fans in the 12,000-seat Arena Zagreb, with the biggest number being expected at the opener against Croatia.

This will be the first time in more than a decade that Slovenia plays at an EuroBasket without an NBA player, as the country's best player, Goran Dragić of the Miami Heat, decided to skip the tournament.

The national team is heavily depleted as the bulk of the players that constituted the team's staple in major tournaments in the recent years are out either due to injury or personal reasons, the biggest name being Dragić.

His younger brother Zoran Dragić, the only other Slovenian NBA player, will meanwhile be available to the team that will also not get the services of veteran guard Domen Lorbek, centre Mirza Begić, the Murić brothers and sturdy centre Gašper Vidmar.

The tournament will be played between 5 and 20 September 2015, with the hosting of the group stage divided among Croatia, France, Germany and Latvia. The knock-out round and the finals will be played in France's Lille.

Slovenia booked a ticket to this year's European basketball championships by virtue of taking fifth place at the EuroBasket 2013, which was hosted by Slovenia.

* Slovenia's roster for the 2015 Eurobasket:
player                            height         born                     club
Nebojša Joksimović        193            1981                free agent
Luka Rupnik                    185            1993                 Union Olimpija (SLO)
Klemen Prepelič            191             1992                 free agent
Jaka Blažič                     196             1990                 Crvena zvezda (SER)
Mitja Nikolić                    200            1991                 Union Olimpija (SLO)
Zoran Dragić                   196             1989                 Khimki (RUS)
Miha Zupan                     205            1982                  free agent
Jure Balažič                    204            1980                 Gaziantep (TUR)
Saša Zagorac                  206            1984                 Union Olimpija (SLO)
Alen Omić                       215            1992                 Gran Canaria (SPA)
Jaka Klobučar                 198             1987                 free agent
Uroš Slokar                      210             1983                 Sevilla (SPA)


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