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LJUBLJANA (FIBA U20 European champ) - Three weeks shy of the U20 European Championship tip-off in Nova Gorica (Slovenia) and Gorizia (Italy) Slovenians make their first tests in a series of friendly matches. The list of candidates for a spot in the team now features 15 names.

Young Slovenians played three friendlies so far; they won the first against a selection of Slovenian senior players, lost against Quatar's senior team, and succeeded against Finnish peers.

Winning is not a priority in the preparation stage, though. Slovenian NT coach Miro Alilovic said: 'During the first match, players had "heavy legs" after our conditioning camp. We started to work on team play on Monday, though. I am not too concerned with the final score in these training matches, nor at the tournaments we will play in the next weeks.

'After all, we did not win many friendly matches last year, but came in top shape at the European championship in Izmir.' In Turkey they won the bronze medal.

Slovenia's odds are good. Six members of the team already played last year, including the team's three top scorers. Emir Preldzic, Jaka Klobucar, and Gasper Vidmar combined over 50 points per game last year. They are now a year older and more experienced.

After practicing in Slovenia, the 15 players will travel to Italy to play at a tournament in Domegge di Cadore. They will face teams from USA and Russia. After the tournament coach Alilovic will cut the candidates' list to 14 people.

Before the championship tip-off Slovenians will play in tournaments in FYROM and Nova Gorica. Afterwards they will begin the closing stage of the preparation for the European championship. The event is scheduled for 6 to 15 July.

The 15 men contending a spot in the team are point guards Tadej Kostomaj, Jan Mocnik, and Rok Perko; guards Jaka Klobucar, Aljosa Kristo, Klemen Lorbek, and Dejan Mlakar; forwards Miha Markic, Emir Preldzic, Jaka Pticak, Drago Brcina, and Dejan Cigoja; and centers Borut Grusovnik, Matej Krusic, and Gasper Vidmar.

Reduces from last year's team are Perko, Klobucar, Preldzic, Brcina, Krusic, and Vidmar - Izmir's team's top scorers, rebounders, and stealers.

Dmitry Khvostov won?t take part in U-20 European championship.

Dinamo BC player will be unable to help Russia in Slovenia and Italy.

"I have problems with my back and that is why I won?t go with Russian team", said Khvostov to Sport Express.

"I am thankful to the head coach Andrei Maltsev for invitation but I need to recover."

"I also would like to say that I will play for Russia?s U-18 team at the European championship which will take place in Spain in August."
This will be interesting. Lots of young talents show them in U20 Championship. I'll have to update myself and the forum about Lithuania squad but I know that no players from U19 are included because they will be playing in the World Championship.

Group A


Group B


Group C


Group D


Austria U20 Side Beat Slovakia In Preparation Game

In preparation for the U20 European Championship Division B which takes place from 6-15 July in Warsaw, Poland, Austria defeated the Slovak Republic 83-63 in a friendly game.

Richard Poiger, who averaged 17 ppg at last year?s U20 European Championship Division B, led the way for Austria with 30 points.

His teammate Maximilian Kunovjanek added 17 in a contest that Austria led from start to finish.

Austria will play in Group A along with the Czech Republic, Germany, Montenegro and Sweden.

The Slovak Republic will also play in the Division B championship. They are matched with Belarus, Portugal and the Ukraine in Group C.

SLO - Coaching stars to lecture in Nova Gorica

LJUBLJANA (FIBA U20 European champ) - Slovenian Nova Gorica will most likely be the center of attention of European basketball lovers in mid-July; starting 6 July the best sixteen U20 European men teams will compete for the title of continental champion. Several top European coaches are expected among the spectators; some of them will even lecture at an upcoming coaching clinic.

On 13-14 July, the Slovenian Association of Basketball Coaches will organize a clinic for Slovenian coaches. Scheduled to appear are top European coaching experts Dusko Ivanovic, Dimitris Itoudis, and Aleksandar Dzikic.

The Montenegrin Ivanovic made a name for himself in his playing days, winning two consecutive European titles with Jugoplastika Split in 1989 and 1990. As a coach he has worked in Switzerland, France, and since 2000 in Spain. In his coaching career he won the Korac cup with CSP Limoges in 2000 and was twice finalist of Euroleague with Tau Ceramica. Currently he coaches Winterthur Barcelona.

Dimitris Itoudis is Assistant coach for Panathinaikos where he works side-by-side with Zeljko Obradovic. He has been with Panathinaikos for seven years, contributing to the several national and European titles won in this period. Before that he studied kinesiology in Zagreb.

Aleksandar Dzikic joined the Minnesota Timberwolves staff in 2005 and became the first NBA assistant coach with no prior experience in the USA at either the collegiate or professional level. Before that he spent 14 years as an assistant coach for Partizan Belgrade, working with Dusko Vujosevic in the last six seasons.

Dzikic is only the second non-European coach or assistant coach to make it to the NBA. The other foreigner is Serbian Igor Kokoskov who works for the Detroit Pistons.

Lectures are scheduled for Friday afternoon and Saturday morning; after that, coaches will have access to the final stages of the Young Men championship.
The final list of Lithuania U-20.

4 Vilmantas Dilys (Clinicas Rincon Axarquia, Spain)
5 Tomas Ȍerneckis (Pieno Žvaigždė—s)
6 Martynas Kriaučiūnas (Atletas)
7 Ernestas Ežerskis (NeptÅ«nas)
8 Gytis Maciulevičius (SK Dextera)
9 Evaldas Baniulis (South Carolina, NCAA)
10 Paulius Ivanauskas (Rūdupis)
11 Arnas Labuckas (Sakalai)
12 Povilas Butkevičius (Rock, Estonia)
13 Edvinas Ruzgas (Weatherford College, USA)
14 Remigijus Trakimas (Atletas)
15 Karolis Petrukonis (Clemsono, NCAA)

Head coach Linas Šalkus
Coach Darius Dikčius
Coach Algirdas Kriaučiūnas