|Not afraid of Group B: Aleksandar (Aco) Petrovic|
Bosnia and Herzegovina head coach Aleksandar (Aco) Petrovic is relishing the prospect of his team competing in EuroBasket 2013 Group B, despite the fact many have branded it the 'group of death' in the first round.
Speaking at a press conference in capital Sarajevo, the Croatian tactician brought back memories of his glorious playing days in the 1980's, when he exuded confidence every time he took to the court with Yugoslavia or with Cibona Zagreb.
"We are not going to Slovenia as outsiders," Petrovic stated.
"I believe that we will advance to the second round.
"We have selected 16 players in the preliminary squad, which includes six or seven youngsters, and the rest are at their peak, playing at top level.
"Our team can play well on both ends of the floor, on offence and defence."
Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to do battle with F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Lithuania and Latvia for a top-three finish in the group, that leads to the second round.
"Our group is tough but we will not ask for an alibi, these players will give their best," Petrovic said.
"We have plenty of time to prepare and on 4 September we will be ready for [opening day opponents] Latvia.
"We have a great atmosphere, last year we started to build a new team and we have created the backbone of the national team."
Bosnia and Herzegovina's biggest stars, Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic and Alba Berlin guard Nihad Dedovic, who were the leading scorers of the Balkan side in last summer's Qualification Round, were seated next to their coach and echoed the sentiment.
|Nihad Dedovic is expected to be back for Bosnia and Herzegovina|
"We are in a strong group, but we do not need to think about the opponents," Teletovic said.
"The important thing is to concentrate on our team, and we will certainly be ready in Slovenia."
Petrovic's preliminary squad includes 16 players, but the coach clarified that 19-year-old center Jusuf Nurkic will join preparations only if Nedzad Sinanovic, who underwent knee surgery earlier this month, does not recover in time to be at training camp by the end of July.
Nurkic made his debut with the senior national team last summer, after averaging a tournament double-double to lead the U18 side to the top of the podium at the European Championship Division B.
Petrovic also said that guard Zack Wright has been given permission to arrive at training camp later than his team-mates as he is getting married in July.
Bosnia and Herzegovina commence preparations on 18 July and in August they will measure their strengths against Russia, Greece, Germany, Italy and Georgia in warm-up games.
Interestingly, they have also planned friendly encounters with Lithuania and F.Y.R. of Macedonia, who will be among their opponents in first round Group B.
Bosnia and Herzegovina preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013: Zack Wright, Muhamed Pasalic, Filip Adamovic, Nihad Dedovic, Nemanja Gordic, Marko Sutalo, Ante Masic, Dalibor Persic Adin Vrabac, Mirza Teletovic, Edin Bavcic, Miralem Halilovic, Nedzad Sinanovic, Elmedin Kikanovic, Andrija Stipanovic and Jusuf Nurkic.