Bulgaria beat Iceland Monday night in Reykjavik to advance to FIBA’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in February. Although Nets stash Aleksandar Vezenkov played a mediocre game, scoring 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting, Bulgaria came away with a 77-74 win.
Vezenkov has admitted that he’s not in the best condition, having not played for F.C. Barcelona in Spanish League games for the last weeks ago. After a five-game losing streak earlier in the season, F.C. Barcelona’s coach first benched, then deactivated him.
Barcelona did agree to let Vezenkov play in the FIBA Qualifiers which will help set the field for next summer’s World Cup games in China. Bulgaria and Iceland are among several smaller European nations seeking to qualify in games this week, then again in February.
Although the 6’9” 22-year-old struggled, his Bulgarian national team coach said he was happy to have him.
“First of all, we should be happy that Vezenkov managed to come in. It was obvious to everyone that he was not in his best game form and that was seen in these two games, but he definitely could do more, but that which helped us, for us it is super, "Lyubomir Minchev concluded, adding that it is too early to think about the February qualifiers.
The Nets took Vezenkov, who’s been compared to Mirza Teletovic, at No. 57 in the June Draft. He has this season and next on his three-year deal with Barcelona. He’s said the Nets told him they’d talk about future plans at the end of this season. No indication of whether his current situation with Barcelona will affect that decision. On the night of the draft, Sean Marks called Vezenkov an “elite shooter.”
- Game Report: Bulgaria 77, Iceland 74 - FIBA.com