How do you say, “Let’s clean house!” in Croatian? Because that’s the phrase Team Croatia coach Josip Vrankovic was certainly employing when he assembled his 17-man preliminary FIBA World Championship.
After the disappointing finish by the Croats in the 2009 Eurobasket competition, then-head coach Jasmin Repesa hastily resigned and thereafter replaced by Vrankovic; now Vrankovic is ejecting Repesa’s team members, it seems.
Out are Sandro Nicevic, Nikola Vujcic, Marcio Stojic and Nikola Prkacin; Marin Rozic has retired from basketball altogether and Mario Kasun has retired from international play. In is the sensational Ante Tomic, to be training alongside the likes of Marko Tomas, Davor Kus, Zoran Planinic and Stanko Barac.
The prospective new-look Team Croatia includes 11 Euroleaguers and four from Croatia’s national league. Three of the 17 played ACB ball and Kus was with Benetton Treviso for 2009-10.
The entire preliminary roster includes Marko Tomas, Roko-Leni Ukic (Fenerbahçe Ülker); Zoran Planinic (BC Khimki); Kresimir Loncar, Marko Popovic (Unics Kazan); Davor Kus (Benetton Treviso); Bojan Bogdanovic, Leon Radosevic, Vedran Vukusic (Cibona Zagreb); Hrvoje Peric, Rok Stipcevic (Zadar); Marko Banic (Bizkaia Bilbao Basket); Stanko Barac (Caja Laboral); Ante Tomic (Real Madrid); Krunoslav Simon, Luka Zoric (Zagreb); Mario Delas (Zalgiris).