Slovenia also began its rise by winning its first two friendlies in preparation for EuroBasket 2022, against the Netherlands and Montenegro.
Left to rest against Montenegro, Goran Dragic confided in the reasons for his return to the Slovenian national team, after five years of absence. These are numerous, starting with the encouragement of his relatives at the idea of offering a last challenge in a big international competition.
“A lot of them convinced me to do it. Rasho Nesterovic, (his brother) Zoran, Luka Doncic and others. I’m used to that. Zoran was the one who talked to me about it all the time, every day,” he slipped.
Less playing time, but the same role
Five years after the coronation of Slovenia, Goran Dragic, MVP of EuroBasket 2017, knows that his role will no longer be the same as Luka Doncic has clearly taken power in recent years. He now sees himself as a lieutenant.
“In my opinion, I will play less, it will not be at the same level. I don’t know how long I was playing, 36 minutes per game? (28 minutes per game, in fact, during the last EuroBasket). Everything will depend on how I feel”he added. “The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good cohesion, to be a leader on the pitch and to lift the spirits of the guys when it is most difficult”.
If Luka Doncic will necessarily inherit more responsibilities, Goran Dragic hopes to keep the same performance and excel in his role, regardless of the playing time he will benefit from.
“My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but everyone has their own role in the national team and that there won’t be any problems. We all understand each other, we’re a great team, and that’s why we can get a good result. This cohesion is what the other teams do not have.
One last big challenge
All Slovenian assets will be important, especially in view of the adversity that awaits the formation of Aleksander Sekulic. Goran Dragic even believes that this Euro will be the most challenging tournament of his career.
“A lot of national teams have NBA players. I think we will have a good chance. I didn’t come back to the national team to play for fifth or sixth place. The objective is to get a medal, but now, as I said, you have to take it step by step”.
|2021-22 *||All Teams||21||24||37.7||25.4||81.8||0.6||2.5||3.1||4.1||2.1||0.9||1.6||0.2||7.5|