Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Fall of Serbia: Darko is Dunzo

- Geez, we thought Darko was off his rocker when he unleashed this bit of trash talk prior to the European championships, but now he appears to have gone plum damn goofy with his postgame tirade against the refs after Serbia's loss to Greece the other night. (Apparently, the Serbian gangster used former teammate Sheed as a role model in terms of building relationships with refs.)

If the translations being reported are anywhere near accurate, Darko's comments are so ugly that you'd have to think that the NBA might suspend him for a few games, maybe even several. Going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

- That said, Darko really can't be blamed for Serbia's poor play--he actually played quite well on both ends of the floor, as did the other main Serbian NBA vet on the roster, Marko Jaric. Darko had 18 pts & 13 rbs, 4 blks vs Israel. Jaric was solid with 11 & 6 assts, played well vs Greece as well. Serbia's outside shooting let them down as they shot 24% from 3pt for the 1st round.

- Maybe the weird mix of the roster can be blamed, with just two vets -- Jaric (30) & Gurovic (32) -- and the rest in the early 20s.

This year, Team Serbia seemed to get little help from all the other youngsters on the roster. Young guys did not look ready for the advanced stage of Eurobasket. Sort of supports the idea that bringing teams full with college-age kids will not cut it in major int'l competitions.

- John Hollinger did his standard outstanding job as he chronicled Serbia's precipitous fall from World Champs in 2002 (as Yugoslavia) to 11th out of 12 at the Athens Olympics in 2004 to an exit in the round of 16 at the 2006 Worlds, and now completely out of the 2008 Olympics.

Considering that Serbia is the clear no. 2 country in the world in terms of sheer depth of basketball talent, this really is in many ways an even more stunning fall from grace than what the U.S. has experienced this century.

Serbia actually has a lot of the same problems as the U.S. has had, just in terms of finding it hard to field a consistent roster from year to year to build team cohesion. Maybe they need to recruit Vlade to play the Jerry Colangelo role.

- One thing we need to quibble with Johnnie H. about is this note:
    Additionally, Serbia isn't producing as much quality talent as it used to. Zarko Cabarkapa, Zeljko Rebraca and Mile Ilic are unlikely to be in the league this year, and no good young Serbian players are ready to take their place.
As int'l scout Tony Ronzone pointed out recently on Chad Ford's Daily Dish, Serbia is actually proving to be well-stocked with talent in the younger ranks -- this summer alone, they have won the Under-19 World Championships (beating the U.S. in the final), the Under-20 European Championships and the Under-16 European Championships.

Serbia's future still looks quite bright, they just need to transfer their junior teams' success over to the senior team..


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Sergi P said...

Totally agree with your comment about the excellent talent of the current young Serbs. I think part of the problem with the last generation is that some of the promising players flew too early to the NBA as pure prospects instead of developing in Europe for a few years. Darko would probably a much better player had he stayed in Europe for two years (of course having anything resembling a brain inside his head would help too).

By the way I've been pretty impressed with 20-year-old Teodosic in this tournament, he looks like he could be the best pure PG to emerge from Serbia in quite some time.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger jay aych said...

Yes, you're right Sergi, a few of the Serbian youngsters looked alright. Teodosic looks promising & I liked the potential I saw in Erceg. I just think it was an odd mix of talent for Team Serbia, Putting Jaric & Gurovic with all these guys 10 years younger maybe was not the best idea.

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