Credit: Klansek Velej / Sportida/SIPA
Credit Klansek Velej / Sportida/SIPA

The Slovenian national team successfully completed the third round of qualification for the World Cup 2023. With victories against Croatia and Sweden, they advanced to the second round. After the team's return from Stockholm, coach Aleksander Sekulic cleared up the air on Goran Dragic's future with the team. 

Dragic scored 20 points in his last game wearing the Slovenian national team uniform on 6-for-13 shooting for 13 PIR to help Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic lead the team to a victory against Sweden in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

The veteran point guard has officially concluded his national team career, but he also admitted that he is tempted to play at the EuroBasket in September. "We will not close the door on Dragic," emphasized the director of the national team, Matej Likar., according to Kosarka Slovenia.

"Of course, we all want him to stay with the national team. He's a player whose decision must be respected."

Dragic recently agreed to a new contract with the Chicago Bulls, but has to go to Miami in August to arrange personal matters. That's why Sekulic doesn't know whether he can count on him or not. For starters, Dragic will surely miss the two World Cup qualifying matches in August.

Slovenia will start preparation on July 25, and they have six friendly games planned. Four of them will be played on home soil (against the Netherlands, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia), and another two in Istanbul (Turkey and Ukraine).

Before leaving for Cologne, where their EuroBasket group will be hosted (featuring Lithuania, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and France), they will face Estonia at home on August 25 and Germany three days later, most likely in Munich. 

"I think we will know much sooner whether Goran will play or not. But it makes a big difference whether he's there or not. Our tactics will also depend on that," Sekulic admitted.

"But of course we have here also Luka (Doncic) and quite a few other quality players. We all want Goran to be there, but we have to respect his decision, whatever that is. I also told him that he has an open door to the national team. Anytime," Sekulic explained.

"It's not easy for him," he continued. "I believe that his heart wants, but then there are other reasons. I would like us to give him a little peace, so that he can also rest, use the time that he has to clear his mind and decide with a clear head what is best for him. I hope that he will decide to help the national team," Sekulic added.

The Slovenian tactician stressed that no ultimatum and no deadline have been given to Dragic in order to decide.

"He said he's done with the national team and I won't pressure him about deadlines. But if he decides to play for the national team, then we'll agree on when he'll join. He has enough time, we have enough time. Once we know, we'll make plans," the 44-year-old coach explained. 

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