Croatia Basketball Team Returned to Zagreb, Olympic Qualifiers on Horizon

Daniela Rogulj

Marin Susic
Marin Susic

Marin Susic

December 1, 2020 – After an excellent November qualifying campaign for EuroBasket 2022, in which they have already secured their spot in the competition with two games to go, the Croatia basketball team returned to Zagreb.

The Croatia basketball team has already qualified for the European Basketball Championship, which will be played in 2022. After a long time, Croatia deservedly advanced to another big competition, without keeping us on the edge of our seats. 

Coach Veljko Mršić could not use NBA and Euroleague players due to the rigorous rules in force, but was able to use basketball players from the Croatian league and those who play in Europe. Mršić put together a very good team that demolished Turkey (+17) and Sweden (+15). The stars included Ukić, Bilan, Šakić, Prkačin, Drežnjak, Marčinković and other promising talents. 

“We are happy and satisfied with what we have done, we have four wins and no defeats – unlike the previous World Championship qualifiers where we did not advance. Finally, we did it without stress. Two games are left. We will see what will happen with the pandemic in February, but we will certainly try some young players,” said Mršić in an interview for Dnevnik Nova TV.

Croatia played the qualifiers without the great NBA stars, Bojan Bogdanović, Ivica Zubac, and Darijo Šarić.

“We will continue these qualifications without NBA players and those from the Euroleague. When the big competitions and qualifiers for the Olympics come then we will surely step up with our best players but we don’t want to lose the chemistry in the team. We will only take those who will submit to the team,” says Mršić.

Croatia plays the qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Split in June. If there is luck in the Spaladium Arena, Bogdanović, Šarić, Zubac, Šamanić, Bender, Žižić and other well-known names in Croatian basketball will play. However, some players won’t be available in June if they are in the conference finals and NBA League Finals.

Croatian fans are secretly hoping that Utah Jazz will not go that far this season because that would make Bogdanović available for Croatia. The national team is twice as strong with him.

“We will certainly try to take our best players from the NBA league who will be available. We depend a lot on the NBA league because we don’t know how far our players will go. Likely, those who will play the conference finals and the NBA league finals will not be with us, but we will certainly take whoever is available,” concluded Mršić.

Bogdanović is the best Croatian basketball player of the 21st century. Although he is a big star in the NBA league, he has never refused to play for Croatia in his career, unlike some others. His help would make it easier for Croatia to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games.

Source: HKS

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