By Jeff Taylor
When Montenegro make their EuroBasket bow next summer in Lithuania, it's going to be one of the biggest moments in each player's career.
That includes Omar Cook and Vladimir Dasic.
The 28-year-old Cook is Montenegro's 1.88m naturalized point guard from New York.
He's been with the team every step of the way as they have won promotion from Division B and qualified for the EuroBasket.
Dasic is a 2.08m power forward that has as much natural talent as any player in the national side that is coached by Dusko Vujosevic.
|Dasic failed to impress Ettore Messina at Real Madrid but works well with a tough coach like Dusko Vujosevic in the Montenegro team|
He made his senior team debut last summer and Cook is candid when asked about the 22-year-old.
The playmaker says Dasic needs to be ready to play every day.
"He's 6-9 (six feet nine inches tall), he can shoot, a great rebounder, can dribble the ball," Cook says to Basketball World News.
"Once he figures out how to use his talent, and his brains, and not take days off - I think he's going to be great."
Dasic is a product of the Buducnost system in Podgorica.
He was once of the best players in the FIBA Europe youth competitions for several years, even earning all-tournament honors in 2008 when leading his newly-promoted national side to fifth place at the U20 European Championship.
Last season, he signed for Real Madrid but didn't make an impact with the Spanish giants and the club coached by Ettore Messina decided to loan him to Gran Canaria in February.
"I don't really know what happened," Cook says.
"I've heard Messina is tough, but I don't think he's tougher than Dusko so I don't really know what happened there.
"But sometimes, things happen for a reason."
Dasic does appear to be getting better.
This summer, he averaged 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21 minutes per game for the Montenegrins as they won Group A in Division A to earn a place at the EuroBasket.
Earlier this season, Dasic earned a move to Lottomatica Roma and he seems to be a good fit in the Eternal City.
He's averaging 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 29 minutes per contest in Lega A and 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the Euroleague.
If Dasic remains fully focused, Europe is sure to have a new star in the near future.
"Once he starts getting serious about basketball, he's going to be great," Cook said.
"He's young. He has to want it. Once he realizes that he wants it, he's going to be really good."