(Kenan Bajramovic top photo)
(Mirza Teletovic bottom photo)
Eurobasket 2011 Lithuania will be starting this week for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia was lucky to make it into Eurobasket and only did so after they expanded the original amount of teams for this tournament and boosted Bosnia into the competition. It was another disappointing qualifying round of games last year for BiH.
The coaching choices for the team the last few years has been puzzling, ever since Bosnian legend Nenad Markovic left the team. Mensud Bajramovic was overwhelmed at the helm of the team for his two tours leading the team. The fact that he hasn't had a decent job since then, shows what his international reputation is. Coach Sabit Hadzic the latest choice for the Bosnian National team, looks completely overwhelmed with the task at hand. He doesn't seem to have control over the team, hasn't set up quality offensive or defensive systems and seems to lack understanding what it takes to go up against some of the best players and coaches in Europe and the world. The team has been dreadful in preparation matches this summer so far, getting blown out time and time again. Bosnia hasn't been able to put up much resistance at all, they have had a good run here or there in the games but when they wear down or the other team makes adjustments they get blown out. You can't rely on hot shooting every game to carry you to the end and to win against top level talent.
The selection of players also don't make a lot of sense either. The powers that be need to take either of two paths during the competition. Either you want to compete and try to win every game with the best team as possible. That all starts with coaching, philosophy and selection of players. Otherwise they needed to go young and to develop talent and look toward the future. They chose neither and instead went towards another option lacking vision, planning and a thorough plan. That is how the Bosnian National team has ended up in the mess it is currently in.
There are too many people around the team that have competing visions that have little to do with fielding the best team as possible. They seem to have too much strength and voice in the process that taints what you see on the court. The situation with Ratko Varda was absurd and ugly, passing on Ognjen Kuzmic the best young center in Bosnia, then turning to Ratko Varda, then pushing him out the door and turning to the absurd idea that Elemedin Kikanovic could fill the roll and finally turning to Ermin Jazvin.
The situation with Adnan Hodzic and Diego Kapalan is ugly as well, they haven't been given much of a shot even though both are quality young internationals who have had good coaching and vast experience for young players. They have been given little chance to compete on the team, leaving Adnan Hodzic to walk away from Bosnia and leaving Kapalan's future with the team in doubt.
Mirza Teletovic Possibly the best power forward in Europe at the moment, Mirza is more of a combo 3/4 than a straight 4. He needs a strong center in order to operate at an elite level, he can't really defend elite level power forwards and is better served when he can attack in a variety of ways without having to worry about defending the basket and the paint by himself. He finally developed into the elite level player he is by having a strong center like Stanko Barac next to him (another Bosnian center who decided to play for the Croatian National team)
Kenan Bajramovic Kenan is a solid role player who is more of a glue guy who lacks elite level athleticism and top level skills. He does a little bit of everything well, who plays at his best when he isn't a focus of the offense and gets some easy shots. That's part of the problem with the current Bosnian National team is they lack a PG who can break down defenses and get others some easy shots.
Nihad Dedovic A good slasher who has bad form on his shooting touch leaving him short on range from the outside. He really needs to clean up his shot and develop a strong outside game if he is to become an elite level European SG. Right now he has the skills of a SF and the size of a SG. Nihad was known as a hard worker who lived basketball while in Bosnia who seems to have lost the same level of commitment now that he is a professional in Italy.
Elemedin Kikanovic Kikanovic missed the last season due to a doping violation, missing a key season of basketball at an important point in his development at the age of 22. He looks rusty from missing a season, which is too bad as he could have used the year to work on his shooting, post moves or adding some muscle to his slight frame. Kikanovic is a good athlete who like Teletovic, Dedovic and Bajramovic lack a specific skill set that sets them apart from others on this team. They all seem to be stuck between positions 2-4 and blend into similar skills and styles.
Aleksej Nesovic A solid ball handler and defender who would benefit if he had a better outside shooter and ball handler next to him. He wears on his man defensively and he can impact the team by being a glue player who does the little things to help a team win. He would be ideal as a backup player on a quality team.
Henry Domercant Domercant is a quality European level SG who is a bit undersized and an average defender who needs a lot of shots and minutes to be at his most effective level. Domercant has been a good team player for the team but Bosnia would benefit from having a elite American point guard or center. His skill set replicates too many others on the team as he is not an elite shooter or ball handler.
Mujo Tuljkovic A good defender and role player he seems to be over matched competing on this level. It seems the team would have been better off calling Damir Krupalija for another go with the team, as his size and ball handling would benefit the team greatly.The team should have considered this spot for Miralem Halilovic, Nedim Buza, Mirza Bulic, Adnan Vrabac or even Sandro Gacic.
Milan Milosevic A puzzling choice as he has bounced between teams for years and has had a hard time finding a home any were in Europe. The team would have been better off bringing in a young player or rewarding Abdurahman Karihmanovic or Armend Karihmanovic.
Edin Bavcic Edin is a quality role player who benefits from playing with solid post players who give him room to operate. He can't carry a team but can play a solid role on a good team.
Diego Kapelan puzzling that he and Adnan Hodzic never got a real shot at playing a key role. It is hard to tell what exactly he has to offer as he has been given little chance to display his skills so far, even though almost every preparation match has been a blowout against Bosnia.
Nemanja Gordic A solid combo guard, the problem is the same is true of Henry Domercant. He is a streaky shooter but when he is hot can knock down 3's in bunches. He is also a decent ball handler, defender and passer. He may start for the team but would be best served as a 6-7 man coming off the bench.
Ermin Jazvin A true professional who was called to the team after Ratko Varda and Adnan Hodzic left and Elemedin Kikanovic failed miserably as the starting center on the team. He will box out, rebound, position and play tough hard nosed defense.
Sasa Vasilijevic Sasa has been a solid professional who has stepped up whenever they have asked. He is just limited both skill wise and as an athlete. He gives his best but should be at the end of the bench, at best.
Sabit Hadzic (coach) Coach Hadzic has been awful and was a puzzling choice to begin with. He wasn't prepared at all for the task at hand. He has been combative with the media about his questioning of tactics and personnel around the team. Bosnian media isn't known for asking the tough questions which makes coach Hadzic's response even more surprising. Emir Mutapcic, Darko Russo, Drasko Prodanovic, Gordan Firic, Samir Seleskovic, Adis Beciragic would all have been better choices for leading the team.
Bosnia is matched up in the same group as Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Finland and Macedonia. Bosnia's best chances will be against Macedonia and Finland. It is too bad this opportunity has been wasted as a Bosnian squad at full strength is more talented than Greece and would match up well with all the other teams in their division. It seems this whole competition is a showcase for players associated with people who support financially people around and involved in Bosnian basketball. It seems strange that so many people are ok with selling out the team and the country for moderate financial gain. If Bosnia gets lucky they could win a game or two. If they would have fielded the best team as possible four wins would have been possible.