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  • Pekovic, Vucevic In Montenegro Squad


    Take the Montenegro side that impressed in last summer's Qualification Round with a 10-0 record, add two of the most promising NBA centers, and you get a frontcourt that could wreak havoc at EuroBasket 2013.

    This dream scenario is very close to turning into reality for the small Balkan country, as former Partizan, Panathinaikos and Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic are included in the 21-strong preliminary squad for September's EuroBasket that head coach Luka Pavicevic announced on Monday.

    Pekovic however will most likely not be present on the first day of training camp in late July and will join the team at a later stage.

    "He is a free agent in the NBA, and that means that from 2 July, when the transfer window opens in the U.S.A, he is waiting on the outcome of events to know at which club he will play next season," Pavicevic explained.

    "Surely we cannot count on him for the beginning of the program, once he signs a contract he will come to join us as soon as possible.

    "He has the best of intentions to represent Montenegro," Pavicevic added.

    Pekovic averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 62 games (all as a starter) with Minnesota this season, up from 13.9 and 7.4 respectively last year.

    Vucevic meanwhile turned heads around the NBA as he almost tripled his stat averages after joining Orlando from the Philadelphia Sixers last summer.

    Despite the fact he is still only 22, the Montenegrin big man was the second-leading rebounder in the NBA this season, behind Dwight Howard, with 11.9 boards per game to go with his 13.1 points per night.

    Bojan Dubljevic, who became a senior international in last summer's Qualification Round after shining bright at U20 level, had a breakout season with Valencia Basket in the Spanish Liga Endesa and the Eurocup and is another illustrious young member of the Montenegrin frontcourt.

    Vladimir Dasic, who led the team in scoring last summer, as well as veteran center Blagota Sekulic are also included in the squad.

    There might however be some absences in the big men department for Montenegro.

    FC Barcelona Regal young forward Marko Todorovic will undergo surgery for a fracture in his hand after the end of the ACB Finals, while forward/center Milko Bjelica has been struggling with an injury problem and while his name is on the preliminary list, his availability is yet to be determined.

    The only confirmed absence at this point however is that of power forward Vladimir Dragicevic, who informed the coaching staff that he preferred not to participate and was not included in the preliminary squad.

    Montenegro were drawn in Group B at the EuroBasket First Round and will go up against Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

    Montenegro EuroBasket 2013 Preliminary Squad:
    Taylor Rochestie, Nikola Ivanovic, Nikola Pavlicevic, Suad sehovic, Bojan Bakic, Boris Bakic, Vladimir Mihailovic, Aleksa Popovic, Sead Sehovic, Marko Popovic, Vladimir Dasic, Milko Bjelica, Nemanja Radovic, Marko Todorovic, Radosav Spasojevic, Nikola Pekovic, Nikola Vucevic, Blagota Sekulic, Bojan Dubljevic, Milos Komatina and Filip Barovic.


    • Nikola Pekovic may never play for Montenegro again. Even in the case his next week's surgery to remove damaged tissue and repair his right Achilles tendon goes well.



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