|13 April 2012|
|Jasmin Repesa is not only thinking about the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round, but also what the national team will look like in the future |
Croatia coach Jasmin Repesa is acutely aware of the need to bring youngsters into the national team.
Veterans have experience, but change eventually has to take place.
Croatia, following Repesa's decision to leave the national side after a disappointing EuroBasket 2009, freshened up the squad.
At the 2010 FIBA World Championship and at EuroBasket 2011, under Repesa's successor, Josip Vrankovic, there were plenty of newcomers to the senior team set-up.
But the Croatians didn't advance beyond the Eighth-Finals in Turkey and then last year, they won only two of their five games.
Croatia decided to make a coaching change after last year and convinced Repesa to return to the helm.
"Josip Vranković has already done a great deal of work in this area because he brought a large number of players from the Mediterranean (Games) to the senior national team squad," Repesa said.
"As young players, it is clear that the priority of all of them is to reach the senior team, but it's a chance to have only if it's really deserved. "
With that in mind, Repesa will take a good look at the young and old in the national team set-up and see which players have the ability, both in terms of talent, focus and determination, to help Croatia not only reach the EuroBasket in Slovenia but to do well there.
"We've put a quality program together for this summer," Repesa said.
"And our aim is not only the qualification for the EuroBasket in Slovenia, but also to make a homogeneous team and a game system that will be recognizable and will give us the guarantee of continuity of the work, and finally bring a good result in Slovenia."
Repesa led the team qualification for EuroBasket 2007, and the Olympics, and felt like his players had the ability to not only capture a medal but challenge for gold.
It was not surprising that he decided to move aside after Croatia's sixth-place finish.
Right now, Repesa says he is going to examine closely the players who are available and make certain the best squad is chosen.
What he doesn't want to do, however, is talk about names.
"I have spoken with the great majority of them," Repesa said.
"There was motivation in those discussions with representative candidates that we must do something more, and that motivation in the team should be questioned.
"But it's still premature to announce names.
"Just ahead of us the hardest part of the season, no matter where they play."
In a month's time, Croatia should announce their preliminary squad and the remainder of the coaching staff.