Saturday, 3 September 2022

EuroBasket: Croatia Convinces Against Greece and Great Britain

September 3rd, 2022

The Croatian national basketball team is able to convince so far during the EuroBasket 2022 group stage in Milano. Yesterday coach Mulaomerović's team was able to come close to a sensation (85:89) against the highly favored team from Greece and today they made sure to put Great Britain in its place (86:65) to maintain all chances to reach the next round from group C.


After the missed qualification for the World Cup next year, the Croatian Basketball Association decided to naturalize American Guard Jaleen Smith and so far that decision seems to bring the desired results for the team. The checkered team beat Poland and Switzerland during the pre-qualifier for WorldCup 2025 and now remains on track in Milano.


Yesterday, newly added Smith had to take on the big favorites from Greece around former NBA champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The US-American eventually ended up being both the most effective player for Croatia and also top scorer with 23 points. Greek coach Dimitrios Itoudis on the other side was able to count on the "Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo not only to deliver 27 points during the entire game, but also to have two sensational blocks in the last 37 seconds of the game to stop two of Croatia's last three offenses and with that any hope for a big sensation. The game that seemed already lost at half- time 30:46 went to Greece 85:89 despite a strong second half by Croatia (55:43).


Today against Great Britain the Croatian team playing in red showed slight fatigue during the first half but kept the upper hand (37:31) against highly motivated opponents who had lost their opener against Ukraine 90:61. However the third quarter was a display of what the Croats around their leader and NBA player Bogdanović are capable of. A very convincing defense led to easy baskets up front and then eventually broke the Britons spirit when back-to-back alley-oops, fast-break dunks and three-pointers started. Dominic Mavra ended the 35-9 run with a triple point shot to beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter.


The game ended 86:85 with plenty of time for the Croatian bench players to soak in the large tournament atmosphere on the court. Unfortunately Karlo Matković had to leave the game injured at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Sarić, Žubac, Bogdanović all shared the top scores with 15 points each. Miles Hesson scored 18 points for Great Britain. 


Next games (all in Milan) for Croatia will be:

Estonia on Monday Sep. 5 at 14:15 

Italy on Tuesday Sep. 6  at  21:00

Ukraine on Thursday Sep. 8 at 14:15 

All games will be televised live on HRT 2 and FIBA's YouTube channel


Results by quarters: 

Croatia vs Greece 16:24, 14:22, 32:24, 23:19 

Croatia vs Great Britain 20:17, 17:14, 35:9, 14:25


Box Score:

Croatia vs Greece  

Croatia vs Great Britain

Saturday, 3 July 2021

No Tokyo for Croatia after Losing to Germany in Olympic Qualifying Tournament Semifinal (86:76)

July 3, 2021 - Croatia nearly had the win to advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday, but Germany was better in the last 5 minutes to take the lead and ultimately the win (86:76). 

Croatia and Germany met in the semifinal of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament at Spaladium Arena on Saturday. 

Croatia was unimpressive in their two group stage games, recording a tough defeat against Brazil (94:67) and a close victory over Tunisia (75:70).

Part of the reason for their poor performance can also be found in the stands. There were about 2,500 people at the first game, and barely 1,000 in the second. In an arena that holds 12,000, Croatia couldn't quite take advantage of playing at home. Today, however, Hajduk fan group Torcida came out to save Croatia basketball and called on all members to attend today's semifinal. 

Torcida has not organized their attendance at a Croatia basketball match for about 30 years.

Germany v. Croatia 

1st quarter

Hezonja scored Croatia's first basket for 3:2. Bogdanović made 1/2 free throws to make the score 5:3. Žižić scored both free throws awarded shortly after to even the score at 5:5. 

Ukić's floating jump shot saw Croatia down by 1 point - 8:7. A stellar Bogdanović dunk gave Croatia the lead for the first time at 8:9. With 4 minutes to go, Germany led 12:9. 

Bogdanović made it 15:12 with another 3-pointer. Bogdanović netted both free throws for 17:14 with 2 minutes to go. A 2pt driving layup by Bogdanović made it 17:16 and a foul drawn on him during the play saw him make a free throw to equal the score - 17:17.

Bogdanović put Croatia in the lead with another free throw for 17:18 and scored his second for +2. Sakić scored a 3pt jump shot for 17:22 Croatia! 

Sakić scored 1/2 free throws for 19:23 just before the final buzzer of the 1st quarter. 

2nd quarter

A Germany 3-pointer opened the 2nd quarter for 22:23, but Jordano quickly put Croatia back in a comfortable lead with a free throw for 22:26. 

Germany retook the lead thanks to a 3-pointer at 27:26. And it was 31:26 shortly after that. 

Planinić scored for 31:28 and a Bogdanović dunk made it 37:30. A 3-pointer from the Utah Jazz player made it 39:33. Hezonja made two free throws for 41:35 with 3 minutes to go. 

Hezonja scored a 3-pointer for 41:38 - and yet another for 43:41 with 2 minutes to go! Hezonja was on fire to level the score with two free throws - 43:43. Bogdanović put Croatia back in the lead with one minute to go at 43:45, which was the final score of the 2nd quarter! 

3rd quarter

Bogdanović scored the first basket of the 3rd quarter with 7:13 to go - 43:47. A Rogić 3-pointer saw Croatia up by 5 - 45:50. 

A Žižić layup made it 48:52 and a single Bogdanović free trow 48:53 with just under 5 minutes to go. Bogdanović scored for 50:55 and nailed a 3pt jump shot after. A Sakić layup made it 52:60 with two minutes to go. 

Croatia was only up by 5 with a minute to go - 56:60. Žižić scored 1/2 free throws for 56:61. Bogdanović scored two free throws to end the quarter 56:63! 

4th quarter

Hezonja scored a 2pt pullup jump shot for 58:65. Bogdanović continued his brilliant play with another 3-pointer for a +10 Croatia lead - 58:68. 

Jordano scored a 3-pointer for 63:71 with just over 7 minutes to go in the game. Bogdanović scored a 2pt floating jump shot for 67:73 and a free throw for 67:74. 

Germany was only behind by 3 with 5 minutes to go - 72:74.  Germany was awarded two free throws which they made to even the score with 4:30 to go. 

Germany took after making two free throws for 76:74. Bogdanović was awarded two free throws in the next play which made fo 76:76 with 3 minutes to go! 

Germany made two free throws for a +4 lead with 1:33 to go - 80:76. 

The game ended 86:76 for Germany.

Germany and Brazil will meet in the final on Sunday, July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Warrior Mode On: FIBA Features Bojan Bogdanovic in Latest Interview

February 11, 2020 - Croatian basketball player and Utah Jazz star Bojan Bogdanovic features on the official FIBA website this week. 

In an interview with FIBA on Monday, February 10, Croatia captain and basketball star Bojan Bogdanovic said that he wanted to repeat the summer of 2016 when Croatia qualified for the Olympic Games.

Then it was played in Turin, and this time, the qualifying tournament is held in Split. Croatia is the host and only the winner of the tournament goes to Tokyo.

"We were in warrior mode in 2016. We want to achieve the same thing this summer, too. The mentality has to be - win, win, win and not to overthink. We all know that every team that is coming to the (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament) is going to battle for a spot in the Olympics, because every player dreams about competing on the Olympic stage. I mean, basketball in the Olympics is one of the most followed competition, and every player has memories from the Dream Team, Team USA, their own national team or the Olympic Games in general,” Bogdanovic said, and added:

“When I heard we were going to play in Split, I was so happy! It's a huge basketball city and it's one of my favorite places in the whole country. Playing at home has to be a plus for us, we have to take advantage of this and show our country that we can win at home. The fans are already talking a lot about it, according to the feedback and information I got from my family and friends back in Croatia. We talk about it, too, between the players. Playing at home is a privilege, and we want to make the most out of it. It's going to be great, and don't want to  and can't disappoint them. We count on them to be our sixth man.”

Croatia lost to Serbia in the quarterfinal at the Rio Olympics, where Bogdanovic scored 25.3 points per game.

“Oh man, I have so many good memories from the Rio Olympics! The atmosphere was unique, the people and the crowd were very good and noisy and the overall Olympic experience was very good,” Bogdanovic concluded.

Recall, the Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be held in Split from June 23 to 28, 2020. Croatia will face Tunisia and Brazil.

You can read the full interview on the official FIBA website.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 22 September 2019

American Basketball Player Shane Larkin Open to Playing for Croatia

September 22, 2019 - Shane Larkin, who you might know better as the best basketball player in the Turkish Euroleague, is open to joining the Croatia national team. reports that Shane Larkin is a member of Turkish club Anadolu Efes and is considered the best Euroleague basketball player. This diminutive (standing at only 180 centimeters) but lightning-fast and dangerous point guard has four NBA seasons behind him, but has become a much bigger star in Europe.

Larkin is currently with Efes at the Zadar Basketball Tournament, where he revealed that he would not mind playing for Croatia. Larkin is a teammate of Croatia's Krunoslav Simon, which is where the idea seems to have originated.

“I just spoke about it with the Kruno yesterday. I can say that I'm definitely open to the idea,” Larkin told

''It would definitely be nice to perform at the Olympics. It's every athlete's dream. Of course, I would prefer playing for the USA, but given the situation, I am definitely open to the idea of playing for Croatia. This is something I should think about very well this season. There are a lot of factors that need to coincide and I need to hear from the responsible people about what would be expected of me. But the idea is certainly interesting," he added.

Croatia is the thinnest in the playmaker position, where Larkin has proven his class. Last season, Efes made it to the Euroleague final; CSKA were better, but Larkin was the best scorer of the match with 29 points, while he scored 30 in the semi-final against Fenerbahce.

Croatia can still qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Recall, the national team awaits a qualifying tournament next June. We will see then if coach Veljko Mrsic will rely solely on Croatian forces or boost his squad with an NBA pedigree.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Veljko Mršić Named New Coach of Croatia Basketball Team!

Former sports director and former coach of KK Cedevita, 48-year-old Veljko Mršić, is the new coach of the Croatia national basketball team, the Croatian champion announced on their official website, reports HRT on May 2, 2019. 

The decision was made at the Management Board session of the Croatian Basketball Federation, where, at the suggestion of the Expert Council, the previous coach Dražen Anzulović was relieved. The press conference at which the new national team coach will be presented will be held on Friday at noon.

In KK Cedevita, Veljko Mršić led the juniors with whom he became Croatian champions. When Jasmin Repeša was announced as a coach, Mršić became his assistant and as a part of his team won the first Croatian senior club title for the club. As the first coach, succeeding Repeša, Mršić won 3 Croatian championship titles, 2 Krešimir Ćosić Cups, and the culmination was entering the TOP 16 in Euroliga. In November 2018, Mršić returned to the position of sports director at KK Cedevita, now leaving to lead the Croatia national basketball team.

Mršić is now moving to reconstruct the national team, with whom he will play in the European Championship in 2021 without NBA players. 

Recall, former national team coach Dražen Anzulović failed to place at this year's World Cup in China.

KK Cedevita’s statement transmitted in full below:

“The Croatia national basketball team will receive a new coach. It will be the former sports director of KK Cedevita, 48-year-old Veljko Mršić, who, due to new commitments, is leaving the club's current position. Veljko Mršić led the KK Cedevita juniors with whom he won the title of Croatian champion. With the arrival of Jasmin Repeša as a coach, Mršić became his assistant and as a part of his team won the first Croatian senior club title for the club. As the first coach, succeeding Repeša, he won 3 Croatian championship titles, 2 Krešimir Ćosić Cups, and the culmination was entering the TOP 16 in Euroliga. In November 2018, he returned to the position of the KK Cedevita sports director, now leaving for the national basketball team of Croatia. Veljko did not let the club stand in the way of new challenges, and on this occasion, he cared about the progress of the Croatian Basketball Federation and our team, as well as the rise of basketball in Croatia. KK Cedevita wishes Veljko Mršić lots of luck in his career and thanks him for everything he has done for the club. We emphasize that we will be at his disposal with all his future needs working in and around the Croatia basketball team.”

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page