Serbia are looking to have all of their leading players in the lineup when they host the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade and take aim at the Tokyo Games.
Coach Igor Kokoskov has superstars Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic on his preliminary list of 25 players, as well as national team linchpins Milos Teodosic, Nemanja Bjelica, Vasilije Micic, Boban Marjanovic and Miroslav Raduljica.
Another player named that is sure to raise eyebrows is Aleksej Pokusevski, who just wrapped up an outstanding rookie campaign in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Pokusevski, just 19, was a revelation this season, averaging more than 24 minutes per game for the Thunder in his 45 appearances.
Bogdanovic, voted to the All-Star Five at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, has been thriving with the Atlanta Hawks this season. Both he and Denver Nuggets star Jokic, the MVP of the OQT that Serbia hosted in 2016, are engaged in first round playoff battles with their respective teams.
Bjelica, the 33-year-old forward of the Miami Heat, is hoping to make it to the Olympics for the first time. He was hurt five years ago and missed the Rio de Janeiro Games after Serbia won the OQT in Belgrade.
These are the names picked by Serbia NT coach Igor Kokoskov: Danilo Andjusic, Aleksa Avramovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Ognjen Dobric, Marko Guduric, Dalibor Ilic, Ognjen Jaramaz, Nikola Jokic, Stefan Jovic, Nikola Kalinic, Branko Lazic, Vladimir Lucic, Vanja Marinkovic, Boban Marjanovic, Vasilije Micic, Dragan Milosavljevic, Nikola Milutinov, Nemanja Nedovic, Filip Petrushev, Aleksej Pokusevski, Miroslav Raduljica, Alen Smailagić, Milos Teodosic.
Serbia will take on Dominican Republic and the Philippines in Group A of the OQT in Belgrade while trading blows in Group B will be Puerto Rico, Italy and Senegal.
The top two sides from each group will progress to the Semi-Finals. Only the winners of the OQT will advance to the Tokyo Olympics.
The OQT in Belgrade, as well as those in in Canada, Croatia and Lithuania, will be staged from June 29 to July 4.