Svetislav Pesic: “Serbian basketball must look for a new identity”

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

Aiming to get the job done in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and from there compete in the 2022 EuroBasket, Serbia has a packed schedule this summer. The senior national team head coach and experienced tactician Svetislav Pesic talked to FIBA.basketball about the upcoming games and the future of Serbian basketball.

“We may sometimes unjustifiably appropriate the results of Yugoslavia,” mentioned the former Yugoslavia head coach linked to success in that position, “Still, it has to be said that Serbian players and coaches deserve credit for those results, without excluding any participants from other countries of the former Yugoslavia. But Serbian basketball must look for a new identity that will adapt to the times we currently live in, because everything is changing, so the approach to basketball is also changing. Yugoslav basketball gave us a philosophy for the selection and development of young players, and now we need to see how much we can still profit from that. However, many things have changed since then.”

His side is scheduled to visit Latvia on 30 June and host Belgium on 3 July to wrap up the ongoing round of the 2023 FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers. Serbia has already clinched a berth in the next round and will take on Greece plus two of Turkey, Belarus, and Great Britain, with the top three national teams of the six-team group getting a ticket to the World Cup. Meanwhile, the 2022 EuroBasket will be held in September.

“We first need of course to see how we are when we finish the World Cup qualification window in late June – early July, but we already have in place our preparation plan for EuroBasket 2022,” Pesic pointed out, “That process has already started. We are considering where we will prepare, which friendly games to play, and where. Our contact with the players doesn’t stop, it might not be daily but it’s consistent and regular, and we used these months to visit players, on NBA and Euroleague teams, who could not join us for the previous games, to talk about their plans and see how they feel.”

“I believe that poor preparation is preparation for failure, and that is why we have to prepare well and have a clear situation with the players,” he added, “Of course, that means not only with [Nikola] Jokic, but also Bjelica, [Bogdan] Bogdanovic, [Boban] Marjanovic, [Aleksej] Pokusevski, and everyone who is playing here in Europe. We certainly have a broader, preliminary roster in mind, but now we have the most important part of the club season coming up in Europe and the NBA, and we will see how long it will last. We are primarily interested in players who can mentally and physically respond to such challenges as the EuroBasket, where they play practically every day. It is the whole of August and the whole of September, which at the same time are the two most important months for the regeneration of players for what comes later in the new season.”

Read the entire interview on FIBA.basketball.

Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL

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