Well, there were no Olympic games for Serbia this time out, but with a 7-1 record in the qualification round for Eurobasket 2009, Dusan Ivkovic’s team has already shown their potential for upcoming years. Built around a core for the future with eight players born in 1985 or before (Novica Velickovic, Zoran Erceg, Uros Tripkovic, Kosta Perovic, Milenko Tepic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and Stefan Markovic), it looks like Serbia can be considered as a legit medal candidate for London 2012.
After all, if one of these guys does not progress as expected the whole team will not collapse: Several other very interesting players are on the bubble to join the senior national team after their dominance in the youth competitions where Serbian teams have seen the Gold Rush coming back to them. Particularly the highly successful 1987 generation around Milenko Tepic, Milos Teodosic, Dragan Labovic and Vladimir Stimac set new landmarks by winning the gold medal in every youth category: U16, U18 and U20. Additionally, all of these younger players don’t seem to have a super-promising near NBA future so that they can play the summer competitions without problems.
What is also interesting is to see that, for the moment, just one player in the roster is older than 30: Dusan Kecman. Though the shooting guard is very important for the team when it comes to spot-shooting and team effort, I have some doubts we will see him through 2012. The problem is that I don’t see anybody on the roster who possesses his quality shooting at the moment. Somebody like Mladen Jeremic could take over this role in the future eventually. The rest of the guard rotation is set for the coming years, with both Teodosic and Markovic already having important roles in their respective teams and Milos Vujanic trying to relaunch his club career.
The wing position is also nicely filled with the scoring talent of Novica Velickovic and the long-distance shooting of Luka Bogdanovic. Milenko Tepic can help out at small forward and Dusko Savanovic had some interesting minutes in the two games he played. Additionally, somebody like Tadija Dragicevic should be able to join the team as well as Marko Keselj. Both are playing for Crvena Zvezda next season and Svetislav Pesic is not considered the worst coach to make them better players.
At the inside positions, Nenad Krstic and Zoran Erceg are solid starters who still have a lot of upside. Kosta Perovic should see minutes on the floor again this season, and Boban Marjanovic is a great combination of size and power for the future. Additionally, you have the massive Miroslav Raduljica and Milan Macvan, who are trying to make the step from dominant force at the U20 level to contributor on the senior teams.
As you can see, Serbia is not lacking in firepower for their respective teams. I still have some doubts about a high-quality sniper from the three-point area, as their current top gunner Uros Tripkovic has already experienced lots of ups and downs. And you may have noticed that I did not speak at all about the Serbian “stars” playing currently in the NBA; it doesn’t look like they are in Dusan Ivkovic’s plans whatsoever. So the possible roster for London 2012 could be the following.
Guards: Teodosic, Tepic, Tripkovic, Vujanic.
Forwards: Velickovic, Keselj, Bogdanovic, Macvan, Erceg.
Centers: Krstic, Marjanovic, Perovic.