The Serbia basketball national team is one of the enigmatic squads in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. The Serbians finished just 7th at the 2013 FIBA Europe Championships but are still considered one of the dark horse squads to make serious noise in the tournament in Spain held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14, 2014.
The country has appeared in four world championships before and made the most out of it with world titles in 1998 Greece and in 2002 United States. Since then they struggled a bit with an 11th place finish in 2006 Japan and a 4th place finish in 2010 Turkey.
The talent-laded roster is big even by basketball standards and Serbia is once again looking to use the size to maximize their defence while pounding the opposition down in the paint.
Like their gold medal runs the past decades, Serbia is looking to tap that great defense and team play to take them far in the tournament.
"We have turned into a team in the truest sense of the word," Serbia’s NT head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic declared via FIBA.COM. "(Serbia has a) team unity and fighting spirit that comes from defense. We definitely have that. We live and work as one."
Guards – Milos Teodesic (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Stefan Jovic (KK Radnicki Kragujevac, Serbia), Stefan Markovic (Unicaja Malaga, Spain) Forwards – Marko Simonovic (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Fenerbahce Ulker, Turkey), Nikola Kalinic (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia), Stefan Bircevic (Estudiantes Madrid, Spain), Centers – Nenad Krstic (Anadolu Efes, Turkey), Miroslav Raduljica (Los Angeles Clippers, USA), Rasko Katic (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia), Vladimir Stimac (Bayern Bunchen, Germany)
Serbia Schedule Aug. 30 - Serbia vs. Egypt Aug. 31 - Serbia vs. France Sept. 1 - Serbia vs. Iran Sept. 3 – Serbia vs. Brazil Sept. 4 – Serbia vs. Spain
Despite the presence of veteran center Nenad Krstic (15.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game at the 2013 EuroBasket) and shooter Bogdan Bogdanovic (9.4 PPG and 4.3 RPG), Djorjevic is wary of the quality of teams in their group.
"You need only to be reminded that we're playing against host Spain, the French who were champions of Europe, Brazil, who do not hide that goal of a medal, (Asia) champions Iran and Egypt, which is our first rival," the Serbian NT coach said.
At his disposal however in this tournament is veteran point guard Milos Teodesic, who missed the last continental championship for the NT. The 27-year-old court general averaged 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists the last he played in the world stage four years ago.
Serbia will face Egypt in their opening day assignment on Aug. 30 then face Euro champions France the next day.