U16 Men Feature
|Dorde Kaplanovic and Serbia are looking to rebound from the loss to Russia and beat Germany in their last Group B game|
When Serbia began their campaign by reaching 100 points in the first game (100-62 vs Montenegro), it looked like their firepower would install them as a potential early favourite.
But Serbia could not repeat such a performance and dropped their second game to Russia, 83-91.
Coach Nikitovic was not surprised: "We played well, but at this level the competition is so close, many teams have the same qualities."
Serbia's final Preliminary Round game will be against Germany, who beat Russia 71-67. Coach Nikitovic and his staff will prepare for the game in their usual way: "First we scout the opponent. Then we have a meeting to share opinions, and identify the individual qualities of certain players. We make a plan for victory."
Preparing the players is another matter. "For the players, the schedule is very important. We eat together, we organise team meetings, and we schedule good periods of rest for them. Good rest is important for maximum performance," explained Nikitovic.
In the regular season, Nikitovic is the head coach for Red Star Belgrade. Is it difficult to adapt to coaching youngsters in the summer? "No, it's no problem at all. The team has a fantastic attitude, serious and professional. I don't have to worry about them, they all behave like gentlemen."
Nikitovic identified the importance of these tournaments for the development of the young players: "These players have great quality, sometimes better than the senior players. But they lack experience. These tournaments are fantastic for this. They help to develop the players, and prepare them for games for the senior national team in the future."
Serbia's game with Germany takes place at 20:15 today. Coach Nikitovic will hope his players are all fit and ready. "A couple of guys have small injuries, but we are confident everyone will play."