Udrih changes his mind through text message

Beno Udrih has made a dramatic U-turn and decided not to play for the hosts Slovenia at the upcoming Eurobasket, which starts on September 4.

The decision, which came after Udrih originally declared himself available for the national team is sure to upset the loyal Slovenian following as they get set to host their biggest sporting event since gaining independence in 1991.

Udrih informed the national team’s general manager Matej Avanzo via text message that he would not be at training camp and he went on to thank coach Bozidar Maljkovic and wished the team all the best at Eurobasket.

“Given the experience of past years, we believe that the fact that we were informed of [Beno Udrih’s] intention prior to the start of preparations, is certainly preferable than a failure to appear at the training camp,” the Slovenian Federation (KZS) commented in a statement on their website.

“None the less, it is not fair towards the Basketball federation of Slovenia, nor towards the Slovenian public, that this decision was delayed so much.

“Past experience also says that his decision to decline the cordial invitation to the national team does not make sense.

“We now know that the players who will compete at the Eurobasket at home will try to do everything possible to meet the objectives we have set for ourselves.

“We are certain that with a good atmosphere, a clear hierarchy and with the great support of our fans we will still realise our aim for a top result.”

Early reports indicate that Udrih made the last minute decision due to being a free agent in the NBA and is looking to focus on that issue first. He last suited up for Slovenia back at the 2006 world championships in Japan.

Nebojsa Joksimovic will fill Udrih’s place on the roster, as Slovenian training camp begins on July 19 with Mirza Begic, Bostjan Nachbar and Jaka Blazic joining a few days later.

Slovenia are drawn in Group C alongside champions Spain, Georgia, rivals Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The tickets for the games against Spain and neighbours Croatia were rumoured to be sold out in less than 20 minutes.