This Week Dončić Will Watch, Not Play, For Slovenia

By , 26 Jun 2018, 10:50 AM Sport
I am Dončić, hear me roar I am Dončić, hear me roar Screenshot from the embedded video

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STA, 25 June 2018 - Slovenian basketball prodigy Luka Dončić, who recently became a member of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, will not play for the Slovenian team in the qualifications for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup because his new employers believe he should rest and regenerate. The Slovenian team expected this but hoped he would be able to play after all.

Dončić will thus watch the important matches for Slovenia this Thursday against Spain and on Sunday against Montenegro from the tribunes.

The team will play without three of its biggest stars from EuroBasket - Goran Dragić, who ended his career in the team, the naturalised American Randolph, who will have to skip the qualifications for health reasons, and Dončić, who is not allowed to play by officials in Texas.

Dončić will be replaced in the team by Blaž Mahkovic.

The team coach, Rado Trifunović, said he did not expect this. "We've trained and prepared to play without Dončić. Our plan B was that he comes and brings us added value but unfortunately this was not the case," he said.

Trifunović noted that Dončić was telling him all along that he would like to play but that they both knew it would be hard for him to be granted such a privilege as a newcomer in Dallas. "He will have to play at least one or two seasons to get the same status as Dirk Nowitzki, who has always been allowed to play for Germany."

The team's captain Gašper Vidmar said that he understood Dallas's decision. "We hoped that he'd come but we're strong enough to achieve two victories without him. If we give our best, we can beat anyone," he said.

The team recorded two victories and two defeats so far, ranking second in the group A.

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