|26 March 2014|
|It will be a difficult task ahead for Sweden trying to qualify for EuroBasket 2015 without the influential Jonas Jerebko in their ranks|
Vedran Bosnic has been in the job for less than a month, but the new Sweden head coach already needs to tackle a first, significantly sizeable, hurdle in his efforts to steer the nation to EuroBasket 2015.
The 38-year-old tactician contacted Swedish super star Jonas Jerebko shortly after being named as the successor of Bradley Dean, in early March.
Bosnic was aiming to detect the intentions of the 27-year-old Detroit Pistons forward with regards to upcoming summer's crucial EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round campaign, and was certainly not happy with the reply he received from the other side of the Atlantic.
"I've talked briefly with Jonas," Bosnic told Swedish website Markbladet.se.
"His response regarding the national team was a 'no'.
"He has decided to focus on the NBA summer camps instead."
Jerebko finished EuroBasket 2013 as Sweden's second-leading scorer with 16 points per game and was also their top rebounder, bringing down 6.8 boards per encounter.
The 2.07 forward had been the driving force behind Sweden's mere presence in Slovenia, as he averaged 20.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game to help them secure qualification to the big tournament, in the summer of 2012.
Bosnic, who is also the coach of Swedish champions Södertälje Kings, stopped short of announcing that he will not be counting with Jerebko, which could mean that the Detroit forward could still reconsider his stance before the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round tips off on 10th August.
If he doesn't however, it will be extremely challenging for Sweden and Bosnic to make up for that level of contribution by shuffling pieces around, especially since the physical condition of fellow Swedish star Jeffery Taylor is likely to accentuate the problem.
Taylor started off his second NBA season with the Charlotte Bobcats by enjoying more playing time and improving his stat lines compared to his rookie year, but suffered an Achilles tendon rupture in late December and is all but ruled out of action for the remainder of the season.
The Charlotte small forward had led Sweden in scoring at the EuroBasket with an outstanding 21.2 points on 46.8% shooting from the floor, which actually meant he was the top scorer of the entire tournament at the completion of the first round.
Sweden however finished 1-4 in Group D and did not qualify to the second round, hence Taylor did not compete in enough games to retain first place on the scorers' list - EuroBasket MVP Tony Parker eventually also snatched up Tournament Top Scorer honours.
The Scandinavian nation were drawn in Group F of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, together with Latvia, Romania and Slovakia.