|06 November 2012|
|Rasic: "...the important thing is that we managed to qualify for the EuroBasket.”|
By Dimitris Kontos
Serbia shooting guard Aleksandar Rasic does not mince his words.
When asked about the national team, he acknowledges immediately that they did not perform as they should, or as they were expected to last summer.
Dusan Ivkovic's men left it really late to qualify for EuroBasket 2013, securing the last available ticket to Slovenia only on the final day of the Qualification Round with an 83-67 victory over Israel in Belgrade.
Rasic, who has been through good times and bad with Serbia since the 2010 World Championship, explains there were mitigating factors.
"It [the Qualification Round] was really difficult. We were missing players like Kosta [Perovic], Novica [Velickovic], very important players for us, and that's the main reason we didn't play very well," he told FIBAEurope.com.
The fact that Serbia were pitted into what proved to be perhaps the toughest group of all did not help things either.
"Estonia made some surprises, they beat Israel away and us at home," Rasic says.
"Montenegro played very well, Israel played well, maybe the names of the teams do not seem so big at first but they played really well in this qualification."
"But at the end of the day the important thing is that we managed to qualify for the EuroBasket."
So Serbia survived the Qualification Round. If it didn't kill them, will it make them stronger?
"Of course," Rasic asserts.
"If we're smart, I think this will help us a lot. We have to think where our mistakes were during qualification and try to fix them.
"If we do that, I think we can play very well, be a very good team.
"Maybe it's good that this happened during qualification so it will not be repeated at the EuroBasket.
"We have to learn from our mistakes, to be smart and not let this happen again."
EUROPEAN CAPITALS TOUR
A product of the famous FMP Železnik youth system, Rasic spent two of the best years of his career at Partizan, under coach Dusko Vujosevic.
Belgrade has been the epicentre of his life and career but he's also lived and played in European capital cities, Moscow, Istanbul and Berlin.
He was on the books of Lietuvos Rytas until last summer.
"I liked Vilnius, it's a basketball city in a basketball country, everyone is watching basketball," he says, leaving no doubt as to his criteria when it comes to cities.
"We had pretty much a good season, we played in three Final Fours and in the Finals of the LKL but we didn't manage to win any trophies."
In actual fact, the 28-year-old guard is location-agnostic when it comes to plying his trade.
|Rasic is a European globetrotter, having plied his trade in four European capital cities|
As long as he can play basketball he can easily adapt anywhere, be it an enormous European capital or a modest-sized medieval city.
He switched from rainy Lithuania to sunny Italy to join Montepaschi Siena in the off-season but one would think he's barely noticed the change in surroundings.
"It's a different lifestyle and the cities are different but I'm used to changing countries so it's not a problem for me," Rasic shrugs it off before turning his attention back to the game itself.
"Right now at Siena we're struggling a little bit, we lost two close games in the Euroleague in Tel Aviv and in Malaga.
"We had these games in our hands but could not win."
Siena registered their first victory in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague last Friday, a hard-fought 93-90 success over last year's EuroChallenge finalists Elan Chalon.
The seven-time Italian champions are undergoing a reconstruction process this season and are currently in third place in the domestic league with four wins in six games.
"We're working hard and we'll get better in the future," Rasic says confidently.
He knows that learning from mishaps along the way is part of the process.