Slovakia In Search Of A Leader

01 August 2014

EUROBASKET 2015 2ND QR

15. Richard Grznár (Slovak Republic)
Richard Grznár will be a notable Slovak absence in the upcoming campaign

Slovakia have had some time to adjust to the harsh reality that their star player, Anton Gavel, will not suit up for the national team in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round.

Gavel, who recently signed a two-year deal with German Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich, is helping out the national team in training camp but will not play in official games for Slovakia this summer.

While it is nearly impossible for one player to completely fill the shoes of the scoring machine that is Gavel, young point guard Richard Grznár could have partially covered the void with his contribution.

The 23-year-old Grznár finished the regular season of the domestic Slovak Extraliga as the top scorer of the competition, averaging 17.7 points per game.

Unfortunately for Slovakia head coach Milan Černický however, Grznár is also unavailable this summer.

The SKP Banska Bystrica sharp-shooter picked up an injury and underwent surgery during the Extraliga play-offs, but shortly afterwards there were complications with an infection and it will be impossible for him to return to action before September, at best.

"We certainly have chances, despite the absence of Tono (Gavel) and myself," Grznár told the Slovak federation official website, basket.sk.

"The biggest mistake would be to go into it with our heads down.

"I keep my fingers crossed for the guys and I believe they will fight their best."

Under these circumstances, Černický has no choice but to put a lot of responsibility in the backcourt on the shoulders of a player who will debut with the national team this summer.

Serbian-born Nenad Milosevic, who is married to a Slovak girl and has lived in the country for years, acquired Slovak citizenship last year and the national team expects him to replicate the same form he has shown at Inter Bratislava.

"I'm glad that the time has come for me to play with the national team," the 31-year-old Milosevic commented.

"I am really looking forward to this qualification campaign.

"No one player is important, but the team as a whole.

"To play well, we need a different player to carry the weight in every game, and that will make us more dangerous for the opposition.

"I believe in this team and I believe we will fight until the end to qualify."

Starting 10 August, Slovakia will do battle with Romania, Sweden and Latvia in Group F of the 2nd Qualification Round.

"I firmly believe that our group is playable," coach Černický stated.

"However, every opponent is tough out there and it will depend on form at the moment.

"I believe that we will achieve some good results, we will engage the fans and the players will leave their heart on the court."

On Friday, Černický announced the 12-man squad that he will use during the 2nd Qualification Round, barring unforeseen changes due to injuries.

The Slovak coach has placed his trust in Milan Žiak, Nenad Miloševič, Oliver Tot, Marek Jašš, Marek Kozlík, Tomáš Mrviš, Martin Bilík, Andrej Kuffa, Peter Sedmák, Peter Dorazil, Michal Baťka and Richard Körner, who however is battling a health problem and his condition will be reassessed at the weekend.

"The other eleven players are in good physical condition," Černický said.

"We wanted to choose the best, which are also relatively young players.

"I think we can all agree that this is the best possible squad we can have."


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