Basketball In Europe
By Darko Nikolic
|Will the legendary Dejan Bodiroga bring to the Serbian Federation some of the creative flair he displayed on the court as a player?|
This is a pivotal week for the immediate and long-term future of Serbian hoops.
On Monday, when the Serbian Basketball Association (KSS) general assembly hold their president election, charismatic Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas will be voted into the top job as he is the only candidate to succeed outgoing supremo Dragan Kapicic.
Former national team stars Dejan Bodiroga and Dejan Tomasevic will be handed key roles at the KSS and in the days or weeks to follow, Djilas will announce which man is to lead Serbia when they compete at the EuroBasket in Lithuania, which tips off at the end of August.
Former coach Dusan Ivkovic surprisingly quit last month, saying he "can't fulfill his role" despite being in the middle of a four-year Olympic turn in which he re-established Serbian basketball among the world elite.
Ivkovic, who is also the coach of Greek giants Olympiacos, guided the Blues to second place at EuroBasket 2009 in Poland and then to fourth place at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey but a financial crisis at the KSS prevented him from doing his job as he'd planned.
The coaching great had said that the postponement of his payments was the "smallest problem" in a once-great basketball system.
Djilas, elected last week as the vice president of the Democratic Party, whose leader Boris Tadic is the President of Serbia, is seen as the only man who could use his skills to bring the KSS back to the glory days.
And he says that he's ready to take over, while reserving comment on the possible return of Ivkovic.
"With great pleasure, I've accepted the support of the basketball people to be a candidate for KSS's presidency," Djilas said, while informing the KSS of his intentions.
His first job will be to strengthen the structure of KSS with famous names.
Djilas has announced that the former captain of the national team and 1998 FIBA World Championship MVP, Bodiroga, will be vice president responsible for men's teams.
He has also said that one of Bodiroga's former Yugoslavia teammates, Tomasevic, will take care of competitions.
Ana Jokovic will be another vice president and will be in charge of female basketball teams, while Vuk Mitrovic will organize marketing and take care of finance.
Djilas said: "This team, together with four new members of KSS's executive board, will represent Serbian regions and have five priorities: 1) Creating all necessary organizational and financial conditions so the KSS can work normally; 2) Taking care of all national teams of Serbia; 3) Special treatment of youth categories, which is a basic condition for basketball to remain the number one sport in Serbia; 4) Creating conditions for women's basketball to catch up with men's success while insisting that more women are involved in basketball; and 5) Organizing events in schools and other places so youngster can live with basketball on a daily basis."
He added that the new KSS executive board will do its best to help clubs, including help in organizing their domestic league which could become part of ULEB later on.