Serbo-Montenegrins Name Youth Squad

24 June 2005

Selection for the Serbo-Montenegrin under 20s has traditionally been the first major step to basketball superstardom in a country where the senior team are the reigning world champions.

Coach Luka Pavicevic has named 11 players in a provisional squad for the upcoming European Championships to be held in Russia, and he will add a further eight once the race for the national title has been decided.

Pavicevic is frustrated that he has been unable to work with his squad for longer before the Championships start on July 8, as many of his players - including Uros Tripkovic, Kosta Perovic, Boris Bakic, Luka Bogdanovic and Novica Velickovic - are members of the Partizan Pivara MB side pushing for what would be their fourth consecutive title.

Partizan are currently 2-0 up against Hemofarm in the best of five final play-offs.

Pavicevic, who won the European Cup For Men's Champion Clubs as a player with Jugoplastika in 1990 and 1991 and was playmaker of his club when they won five titles in the former Yugoslavia, is far from happy with the current situation.

"If all five games should be played in our Superleague finals, that means that we'll have complete team on July 3, just two days before our trip to the European championship," Pavicevic said.

"As a coach and former player, I know it is impossible to be prepared well for high-quality competition if you don't have at least six weeks of work with a complete squad, and that is not the case with us."

Before the trip to Russia, the "young Blues" will host Greece on June 28 and 29, hoping members of Partizan and Hemofarm are available.

Initial 11 man squad (eight more to be added):

Branislav Ratkovica, Nikola Pekovic, Milovan Rakovic (all from Atlas), Aleksej Nesovic, Tadija Dragicevic (both from Red Star), Strahinja Milosevic, Vladimir Golubovic (both from NIS Vojvodina), Mladjan Sljivancanin (Frankfurt), Vladimir Micov (Lavovi 063), Stefan Majstorovic (Reflex) and Ivan Maras (Buducnost)

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