The Slovenian national team is trying to defend their EuroBasket title. Before their quarter-finals game, Goran Dragic talked about the decision to come back to the national team and Luka Doncic.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Goran Dragic, who has won the gold medal with the Slovenian national team in the EuroBasket 2017, will try to defend the title.

The Slovenian guard had already announced retirement from the national team, but his teammates, including Luka Doncic, have persuaded him to come back for the EuroBasket 2022.

Slovenia has advanced to the quarter-finals and the job is far from done, but Dragic, who is the 2017 EuroBasket MVP, knows what it takes.

After beating Belgium 88-72 on Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals, Dragic has talked about the physical and mental toll it takes on him to still play, but does not regret his decision.

"When you are winning, it feels like the best decision [to join the national team]," said Dragic and laughed.

"But when you go back to your room and everything hurts, your whole body hurts, sometimes I am thinking 'oh my god, why do I have to go through this again'," Dragic added.

"But it's worth it, it's worth it. I am enjoying this. I feel like we have the best team, we have the best teammates, our chemistry is at the highest level and everyone is enjoying success," said Dragic.

The 36-year-old has also talked about the differences between the gold-winning 2017 squad and this year's team.

"I feel this is a completely different team [to 2017]. Back then we had Anthony Randolph, we had Gasper Vidmar, we had more depth under the basket," said Dragic.

"So it's different but we know our weaknesses and we know our advantages and as long as we play hard and together we can beat anybody," added the veteran.

One of the biggest differences, however, is that Doncic is no longer an 18-year-old.

Dragic is the second leading scorer on the team with an average of 14.5 in Slovenia's six games in the EuroBasket 2022. While Doncic numbers are just out of this world so far as he averages 28.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Goran Dragic

Goran  Dragic
Position: PG, SG
Age: 36
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Birth place: Ljubljana, Slovenia

"I think he is the best player in the world," Dragic said of Doncic.

"He is only 23 years old and he is playing like a veteran. He could score even 40 points in every game," added Dragic.

"He plays the game at his rhythm, he is very big, he can shoot, he can pass, he can rebound. I don't know what else we can say about Luka, he is like… an astronaut," Dragic described Doncic's game.

"I think he could be [the best player in history]. He is still very young, but if he stays healthy and plays a long more time I think that by the end of his career he could be the best ever," added Dragic.

The age difference between the two Slovenian stars is 13 years and Dragic wishes it wouldn't be so.

"I wish I was younger so I could play more time with him. We've only played one EuroBasket together, this is the second one. For me, it's different. I am 36, Luka is in his prime but I am enjoying every moment," Dragic concluded.

For their quarter-final match of the EuroBasket 2022, Slovenia is going to face Poland on September 14 at 20:30 CET.

We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website