Koprivica to Captain Serbian Team at U20 European Championship
July 30, 2008
RIGA, Latvia - Washington State University men's basketball junior-to-be Nikola Koprivica will represent his native Serbia in the 2008 U20 Men's European Basketball Championship Aug. 1-10, at the Olympic Sports Centre and Arena Riga.
A 6-foot-6 guard for the Cougars, Koprivica is one of 21 men on the team roster and one of 11 representatives from Belgrade. Koprivica was elected as the lone captain for the team.
'It means a lot to me, of course, to play on this team,' Koprivica said. 'To be a captain of your national team is not a little thing, it is a big thing, because everyone loves to play for their own country. It means something and I'm really happy about it.'
The championship kicks off with group play, as each four-team group (A-D) competes in round robin action Aug. 1-3. Bracket play begins Aug. 4, before the championship game Friday, Aug. 8. Serbia opens with Russia, Aug. 1, followed by a meeting with Slovenia, Aug. 2 and a matchup with France, Aug. 3.
Last season in the FIBA U19 World Championship, Serbia captured the gold as the host in Novi Sad. This season's team, which boasts many of the same players, has a new coach at the helm in Slobodan Klipa, a man who has thrived as boss of FMP Belgrade. Koprivica was scheduled to play on last year's U19 team prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury with WSU in January.
'After under-20 you can just play for the first national team,' Koprivica said. 'This is the last time we can be together at the same age. This is good to see where we're at, comparing ourselves to other players and other teams. It's good to show us if we're good or not, basically.'
Koprivica, who has spent the entire summer in Serbia training with his national team, will return to Pullman when classes resume in late August.
'It feels good to be home,' Koprivica said. 'Time is flying by, but I'm looking forward to coming back. I miss the guys a lot. I miss the team, coaches, everybody. Hopefully I'll be healthy this season and I'll show something good now.'
For complete coverage of the U20 European Championship, please visit the official website here.