U18 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
|Nikola Radicevic aims high heading into the summer with Serbia's U18 side|
Serbia lost in the final of the 2011 U18 European Championship to Spain. The basketball powers faced off again in the final of the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, and once again Spain got the best of Serbia.
Nikola Radicevic played on both Serbia teams and the point guard is not worried about his team losing in Mannheim, Germany. In fact the Cacak native believes Serbia learned quite a lot about themselves looking forward to the U18 European Championship 2012 on August 9-19 in Lithuania and Latvia.
They finished second in a tournament for which they had very little preparation and were missing some of their top stars.
Radicevic, who was voted the tournament's MVP, said the tournament helped build the team's chemistry and a strong mentality to play defense.
Radicevic talked to FIBAEurope.com after the Albert Schweitzer Tournament.
FIBAEurope.com: What did it mean for Serbia to reach the final of the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, which you lost to Spain?
Radicevic: It's a big thing to reach the final because this is a tough tournament. The best teams from all around the world are here. We were only together five days before hand and only had five practices but we had good chemistry.
What was the biggest thing this team learned from the AST for the development of the team looking forward?
Radicevic: We learned that when it doesn't work for us on offense we just have to stick together and play good defense and we will build from that.
Looking forward to this summer's U18 European Championship in Lithuania and Latvia, Serbia were drawn into a group with Ukraine, Germany and Spain. What are your thoughts on that group?
Radicevic: It's a tough group. Spain won this tournament and Germany is a tough team too. We don't know Ukraine that much, but they will be a tough team too. We will just prepare for them and we want to win the group.
There were five top players missing from Serbia's AST team including Vasilje Micic and Nikola Jankovic, who like you played at last summer's U18s as a 17-year-old. How important are those two players for this team?
|Vasilje Micic led the 2011 U18 side of Serbia in assists, also contributing 10 points per game|
Radicevic: These are a couple of the best players in Serbia at this age. We are trying to work without them, but we are waiting for them. We have a lot of time to prepare for the European Championship. But this team has shown that we can also play without some big players. So we are building our chemistry.
How much better will Serbia be when those players show up?
Radicevic: Much, much better. Now we have good chemistry. We play good defense but struggled on offense because we only had five days. But with them and more time, we will be much better.
You will be playing with Vasilje Micic again, what's it like playing with him?
Radicevic: He's the one of the best point guards in Europe. We know each other from the U16s and U18s and have a good chemistry with each other. If he comes back it will be good for us.
What are Serbia's expectations for the U18 European Championship?
Radicevic: Serbs always play to win.
You spent this season with Partizan. What does your future look like club-wise?
Radicevic: We will see. I will be 18 years old on April 25, so we will look and see what happens for the future.