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Nikola Vucevic Asks for Montenegrin Head Coach Change

2014 September 1
by Adam Papageorgiou


Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic chose to avoid not playing for the Montenegrin national team during its attempt to qualify in August for next year’s EuroBasket competition. Neither did Nikola Pekovic. These two big men are the country’s best talents. Still, Montenegro had enough talent to qualify for EuroBasket 2015. They didn’t and it’s appropriately being seen as a big failure by Vucevic and others. The blame should fall on the Head Coach, in this case Luka Pavicevic.

Vucevic recently gave an interview to a Montenegrin television station. Vucevic has shown great professional restraint in airing out his dissatisfaction towards Pavicevic, until now. The Vijesti news outlet reported some of the t.v. interview given. Using Google to translate a small portion of the interview, Vucevic said this:

“I’m sorry that I could not help Montenegro in qualifying, but if you change the coach, I’m ready to get back in the national team”

Vucevic mentioned how big of a deal it is for Montenegro that they’re missing out on a global playing stage for the next 3 years, but that this is an opportunity now to make appropriate changes to prevent something like this setback from occurring again. I agree with ‘Vooch’ and the request to make a coaching change.

Luka Pavicevic badly mishandled the talents of the 23-year-old in the 2013 EuroBasket tournament in Slovenia. It’s been rumored that Pavicevic also refused to bring Pekovic into the team last year because ‘Pek’ didn’t sign his new contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves in time to join Montenegro for training. That was a full 3 weeks before the tournament. It’s absurd to think that a professional athlete – who just got paid big bucks – wouldn’t be prepared for an international competition in that amount of time. Stubbornness to refuse to cater towards NBA players by national team coaches isn’t new, but that’s what occurred.

That’s why Montenegro had a miserable tournament last year. It’s a big reason why Pekovic and Vucevic chose not to participate in this recent qualifying attempt to get into EuroBasket. Now Montenegro won’t be able to participate in another major tournament until the 2017 EuroBasket. That’s an unfortunate step backwards for a nation that has a population less than one million. Assuming Pavicevic get replaced, Montenegro will then be thrilled to have Pekovic and Vucevic assist in the national team reaching a large basketball stage once again in a few years. Both men love playing for their country, they just need a reasonable coach to lead them.


Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek


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