Tripkovic, Milosavljevic Cut By Ivkovic

28.08.2011

EuroBasket 2011

10. Uros Tripkovic (Serbia)
Uros Tripkovic was part of Serbia's silver medal winning team at EuroBasket 2009

Guards Uros Tripkovic and Dragan Milosavljevic were on Saturday told they had not made Serbia's roster for the EuroBasket.

Dusan Ivkovic, the Serbia coach, thought long and hard and decided to release the two talented players.

"It was tough decision," Ivkovic said, "but it was based on several factors: current form, team chemistry, health of our players but, also, types of our rivals' rosters.

"We've had so many problems during our training camp, but after almost three months, I can say we are ready.

"I have to congratulate both Tripkovic and Milosavljevic on their effort and attitude, but we have had to adjust for what is going to be the toughest European championship of all."

Serbia will play in Group B of the 24-team EuroBasket with France, Israel, Germany, Italy and Latvia.

Two players that had been expected to be cut by many due to their serious injuries were versatile forward Nemanja Bjelica, who had hand surgery before the end of the last domestic campaign, and Marko Keselj, whose cheekbone was broken in a recent test game against France at the London Invitational.

"Even our doctors said at the beginning of our training camp that they couldn't guarantee that Bjelica would work with the ball before August 1, but his talent and huge desire helped him to recover," Ivkovic said.

"Keselj will also be available as our doctors did their best to help him after his injury in the London tournament, and those two pieces of news were very important for us.

"Especially about Bjelica, as our rivals like Italy, with (Danilo) Gallinari, or France with their great athlete (Mickael) Gelabale, have those kinds of small forwards who can make your plans difficult if you don't have the right answer."

For the first time, 2.22m center Boban Marjanovic will be in the senior team of Serbia at an international tournament.

He had not made final cuts in the previous couple of years.

Marjanovic be joined in the paint by captain Nenad Krstic and Kosta Perovic.

"Our rivals in the preliminary phase, Germany, Italy and France, are strongest under the basket, so we've decided to include a whole center crew in our final roster," Ivkovic said.

Speaking about expectations at EuroBasket 2011, the Serbian coach said that the goal has not changed because of injuries of some important players, like Novica Velickovic.

The Real Madrid forward has been a key man the past three summers for Serbia but hasn't recovered in time to make the trip to Lithuania.

"When we gathered this squad three years ago, we set London's Olympic Games as our goal," Ivkovic said.

"And that goal wasn't and won't be changed.

"Yes, we did have problems with injuries and yes, we didn't have enough in-form players during preparations for the EuroBasket, but I'm sure we'll be a real team in Lithuania.

"We'll be that more than others.

"Our team spirit is our strongest weapon.

"As our captain Krstic said in one interview, 'If we aren't a team, we are just mediocrity.'

"And I agree with that."

Serbia squad for EuroBasket: Milos Teodosic, Milenko Tepic, Aleksandar Rasic, Ivan Paunic, Nemanja Bjelica, Stefan Markovic, Marko Keselj, Nenad Krstic, Kosta Perovic, Milan Macvan, Dusko Savanovic and Boban Marjanovic.


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