Filling the big shoes of displaced head coach Jasmin Repesa when Croatia hits the court for the 2010 FIBA World Championship will be Josip Vrankovic. Vrankovic had served as the coach of Croatia’s “Team B” in international competition in addition to (briefly and contentiously) helming Cibona Zagreb in 2007.
As a long-time player with Team Croatia, Vrankovic was with the team in Atlanta for the 1996 World Games and played at Eurobasket 2001 in the soon-to-become familiar country of Turkey.
Though this move had been expected for nearly two weeks, the decision was only officially announced yesterday. FIBA press release follows the break.
(FIBA) – Josip Vrankovic will lead Croatia at the 2010 FIBA World Championship after being appointed as the replacement for Jasmin Repesa.
A former national team player himself, Vrankovic had worked as the Croatia B team boss since 2008.
He led them at the Mediterranean Games this summer.
Vrankovic has taken over a team that underachieved last summer in most people’s eyes.
Just last year, Croatia earned a spot at the Beijing Games via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and reached the quarterfinals.
At EuroBasket this year in Poland, fans had hoped the team would get to the podium and possibly challenge for gold but instead they suffered a quarterfinals exit at the hands of Slovenia.
It wasn’t that long ago that Vrankovic played the game. His last season was with Siroki back in 2006, and the last time he represented Croatia was at EuroBasket 2001 in Turkey.
As a coach, he led Siroki to the title in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007 but left for Cibona, only to part ways with the club in the middle of the season.
He returned to Siroki to coach and was also appointed boss of the Croatia B side.
Drazen Anzulovic, an assistant to Repesa, was also considered for the national job but lost out.
One player who wasn’t with Croatia this year was emerging center Ante Tomic of KK Zagreb and his time could be coming soon.
“I’m glad that Ante Tomic has continued to have good games to build the maximum confidence, but it’s still too early in the season for some generalizations,” Vrankovic said.