|31 July 2014|
EUROBASKET 2015 2ND QR
|Jusuf Nurkic picked up an injury in celebrating Bosnia and Herzegovina's U20 Division B podium-topping effort|
Jusuf Nurkic, the MVP of the recent U20 European Championship Division B tournament, announced on Thursday that he will not play for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round.
The 20-year-old center, who will make the jump to the NBA with the Denver Nuggets in the new season, left the national team's training camp two days prior to the announcement to visit doctors in Croatia.
"I'm really sorry that I cannot help the team," the talented center said on Thursday.
"I am especially sorry that some people want to make a story out of me leaving training camp, it is really wrong to talk like that.
"I've always said that I would play for Bosnia and Herzegovina and it will be so in the future.
"[But now] my health does not allow me to do so."
Nurkic had joined the senior national team's training camp immediately after leading the U20 side to the Division B title, and even played in last weekend's warm-up games in Sarajevo, delivering excellent performances.
But in interview with the Dnevni Avaz daily on the eve of his departure from training camp, the youngster had revealed that he was not feeling fit because he had picked up an injury during celebrations for the Division B title on 20 July, as one of his team-mates landed accidentally on his knee.
"I have not had a moment of rest [this summer], fatigue is catching up with me, but I hope to overcome it and help the team," Nurkic said in the interview.
Bosnia and Herzegovina are travelling to Trieste on Friday for a warm-up tournament with the participation also of hosts Italy, Serbia and Canada.
"The boys are training hard, and on the court they are showing their worth," the secretary general of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Basketball Federation, Harun Mahmutović, told Oslobođenje daily on Thursday.
"It is well known that we have had a lot of problems with injuries, but these problems have not disrupted our preparations and we have managed to perform well in friendly games and win."
In addition to Nurkic, Bosnia and Herzegovina head coach Dusko Ivanonic will most likely also be unable to field star guard Nihad Djedovic.
The Bayern Munich player picked up an injury during the German Bundesliga play-offs and has not joined the national team's training camp yet, as he is currently still rehabilitating from his injury.
Bosnia and Herzegovina were drawn in Group A of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, together with Iceland and Great Britain.
|Mateusz Ponitka has been cleared to play for Poland|
PONITKA CLEARED TO PLAY FOR POLAND
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland are preparing for an international friendly tournament at the weekend in the wake of excellent news concerning one of their key young players.
Poland head coach Mike Taylor will be able to count on talented winger Mateusz Ponitka in the Toruń Basket Cup, the international friendly tournament that tips off on Friday and will see the Polish hosts take on Portugal, Sweden and Iran.
Ponitka was carrying a shoulder injury and had left Poland's training camp last week, to undergo medical tests which coincidentally took place in Torun, so the rest of the Polish national team will join the 21-year-old Polish international in the city that will host the tournament, rather than the other way around.
"The tests showed my right shoulder does not have any major problems and I have received the green light to practice and play in games," Ponitka said.
Coach Taylor will also see one more player joining the Polish team in Torun, power forward Damian Kulig.
The 27-year-old big man had not participated in training camp at all during July and his inclusion bolsters Poland's frontcourt, which has to deal with three serious absences.
Neither Marcin Gortat nor Maciej Lampe are suiting up for the national team this summer, while veteran power forward Michal Ignerski retired from international duty after EuroBasket 2013.
Poland were drawn in Group C of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, together with Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.