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Slovenia Begins Basketball Worlds Countdown

Slovene News Agency

Portoroz, 24 April (STA) - Coach Ales Pipan announced on Monday the list
of potential candidates for the first ever Slovenian basketball team to
take part in a World Championships tournament, to be hosted by Japan from
19 August and 3 September 2006.

Pipan's first draft lists 28 names to be cut down to 15 by June. Offering
no major surprises, the list includes all of the five Slovenian NBA
players and all of Slovenia's trumps earning their bread and butter in
some of Europe's most prominent clubs.

"I intend to put together a team capable of putting their own goals behind
those of the team," said Pipan, the first coach to meet the high
expectations of the Slovenian basketball public after a series of mediocre
showings by the team in the past.

The present team, considered the strongest in the history of Slovenian
basketball, secured a berth for Japan with a sixth-place finish at
last-year's European Championships in Serbia-Montenegro.

It will face Senegal, the US, Italy, Puerto Rico and China in the
preliminaries in Sapporo. Before that, the team will warm up by
participating in a number of international tournaments, facing the likes
of Turkey, Serbia-Montenegro, Argentina and Spain.

* The first list of potential candidates for the Slovenian World
Championships team:

Aleksandar Capin (Viola Reggio, Italy), Goran Dragic
(Geoplin Slovan), Jaka Lakovic (Panathinaikos, Greece), Jure Mocnik
(Helios Domzale), Beno Udrih (San Antonio Spurs, NBA), Sani Becirovic
(Climamio Bologna, Italy), Gregor Hafnar (Whirpool Varese, Italy), Nebojsa
Joksimovic (Hemofarm, Serbia-Montenegro), Saso Ozbolt (Union Olimpija),
Samo Udrih (Akasvayu Girona, Spain), Aleksander Vujacic (Los Angeles
Lakers, NBA); Domen Lorbek (Helios Domzale), Marko Maravic (Ricoh Manresa,
Spain); Marko Milic (Vidivici Bologna, Italy), Bostjan Nachbar (New Jersey
Nets, NBA); Primoz Brezec (Charlotte Bobcats, NBA), Sasa Doncic (Geoplin
Slovan), Dragisa Drobnjak (Union Olimpija), Jurica Golemac (Ural Great
Perm, Russia), Goran Jurak (Vertical Vision Cantu, Italy), Erazem Lorbek
(Climamio Bologna, Italy), Radoslav Nesterovic (San Antonio Spurs, NBA),
Hasan Rizvic (Union Olimpija), Uros Slokar (Benetton Treviso, Italy),
Matjaz Smodis (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Marko Tusek (Lottomatica Roma,
Italy), Zelimir Zagorac (Helios Domzale), Miha Zupan (Geoplin Slovan).