Vrankovic Counting On Barac

30 June 2010

Marko Tomas and Stanko Barac are in the Croatia preliminary squad for the FIBA World Championship after missing last year's EuroBasket.

The 23-year-old Barac is carrying a back injury which knocked him out of the Caja Laboral line-up in Spain late in the regular season but Vrankovic is hopeful the seven-footer can recover in time.

"Doctors have estimated that with therapy and exercise, Barac should be ready for the start of preparations on July 15," new coach Josip Vrankovic said.

"We will see at what intensity he is able to participate.

"He's an interesting player for the future of the Croatian national team, so we have opted to wait in this situation."

Only six players - Roko-Leni Ukic, Zoran Planinic, Marko Popovic, Davor Kus, Kresimir Loncar and Marko Banic - from the 2009 squad in Poland are named in Vrankovic's preliminary squad.

Real Madrid's new star center Ante Tomic is included and looking a very good bet to make the trip to Istanbul where Croatia will take on Team USA, Slovenia, Brazil, Iran and Tunisia in Group B.

Tomas missed last summer through injury and was expected back.

He led Cibona to the title this season in Croatia.

Another Cibona star named is Bojan Bogdanovic, while Rok Stipcevic and Hrvoje of beaten Croatian league finalists Zadar are in.

Mario Kasun announced his international retirement after EuroBasket 2009, when Croatia qualified for the FIBA World Championship but finished a disappointing sixth.

Sandro Nicevic, Nikola Vujcic, Marin Rozic, Marcio Stojic and veteran Nikola Prkacin played last summer but are not included.

Rozic suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in January.

All of Croatia's games will be played in Istanbul.

Croatia preliminary squad for FIBA World Championship: Roko-Leni Ukic (Fenerbahce Ulker), Zoran Planinic (BC Khimki), Marko Popovic (Unics Kazan), Davor Kus (Benetton Treviso), Marko Tomas (Fenerbahce Ulker), Bojan Bogdanovic (Cibona Zagreb), Hrvoje Peric (Zadar), Rok Stipcevic (Zadar), Krunoslav Simon (Zagreb), Kresimir Loncar (Unics Kazan), Marko Banic (Bilbao), Stanko Barac (Caja Laboral), Ante Tomic (Real Madrid), Luka Zoric (Zagreb), Vedran Vukusic (Cibona Zagreb), Mario Delas (Zalgiris) and Leon Radosevic (Cibona Zagreb).

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