|20 July 2013|
|"Everything is more authentic than in a club" Goran Dragic |
With 47 days to go until EuroBasket 2013, the home team, Slovenia, have started their preparations for the biggest sporting event in the country's history.
Head coach Bozidar Maljkovic gathered 13 players for the first camp in Rogaska Slatina with late inclusions Nebojsa Joksimovic, Mirza Begic and Bostjan Nachbar joining four days later to complete the 16-man squad.
Slovenia star Goran Dragic was excited about the start of preparations, saying: "Every year when we meet, like today, it is great, because in the United States I don't have a chance to see my [national team] teammates.
"We do a lot of things together in the national team which is a completely different thing compared to a club, where every player is locked in his own room. Here we eat and practice together. Everything is more authentic than in a club."
After the Rogaska Slatina camp, the team will move to Ljubljana before further training sessions and test games take place in Zrece, Kranjska Gora and Celje.
A total of 12 preparation games is scheduled for the team out of which 10 will be played on home soil, giving fans the opportunity to already see their stars before the start of EuroBasket.
The first test will be played in Domzale on 26 July against Ukraine.
|No hill sprints in the Karawanke mountains: Slovenia coach Bozidar Maljkovic keeps it in the gym|
Coach Maljkovic explained how the approach to a national team's preparation has changed in recent years.
"The times of long preparation periods in the mountains are gone. Although Slovenia has a lot of beautiful meadows and hills, our team will not be training in the open air even for a day.
"During the practice sessions we will focus only on pure empirical defence and offence. There will be no time for other things.
"Our team is missing some of the biggest stars at this year's EuroBasket, therefore I think it is time for a slight generation change in the Slovenian National Team.
"At EuroBasket 2013 our team will be adorned with a fighting spirit which no one can take away from us. Only when a team realises how important a lost or stolen ball is, it becomes a real team."
Slovenia will play in Group C in Celje and do battle with the Czech Republic, Spain, Georgia, Croatia and Poland.
The full Slovenia roster ahead of EuroBasket is as follows:
Jure Balazic, Jaka Blazic, Jaka Brodnik, Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic, Jaka Lakovic, Luka Lapornik, Domen Lorbek, Gezim Morina, Edo Muric, Klemen Prepelic, Uros Slokar, Gasper Vidmar, Mirza Begic, Nebojsa Joksimovic and Bostjan Nachbar