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Slovenia Displays Cohesive Teamwork and Talent at Basketball World Cup

Luka Doncic, Klemen Prepelic and Mike Tobey, the three leading scorers for Slovenia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, continue to be key catalysts for the team.



Klemen Prepelic shoots a jumper against Georgia in a FIBA Basketball World Cup match on August 28 at Okinawa Arena. (FIBA.BASKETBALL)

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OKINAWA CITY ― Even though Luka Doncic generates the majority of the team's headlines and highlight reel plays, Slovenia is not a one-man team.

That was evident at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the European squad earned a fourth-place finish in the men's basketball tournament.

It's also been true at the ongoing FIBA Basketball World Cup, where Doncic, Klemen Prepelic and Mike Tobey have reprised their roles as Slovenia's "Big 3."

Slovenia defeated Venezuela 100-85 in its Group F tournament opener at Okinawa Arena on August 26. Two days later, Slovenia recorded an 88-67 victory over Georgia.

Doncic is a leading MVP candidate in the 32-nation tournament, which concludes on September 10 in Manila. Entering Slovenia's final Group F game against Cape Verde on Wednesday, August 30, the NBA superstar was averaging a World Cup-best 35.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists.

Slovenia center Mike Tobey in action against Venezuela on August 26. (FIBA.BASKETBALL)

American-born center Tobey and veteran shooting guard Prepelic averaged 16.5 and 14.5 points, respectively, in the aforementioned back-to-back victories that secured a spot for Slovenia in the second round. 

At the Olympics, Doncic was Slovenia's top scorer (23.8 points), with Prepelic finishing second on the team (15.5) and Tobey third (13.7) in six games.


Slovenia Chasing a Title at the Basketball World Cup

Slovenia headed into its match against Cape Verde knowing that if it defeated the African squad, it would finish atop Group F and that its next opponent would be Australia (3-0) on Friday, September 1.

That's exactly what happened on the final day of first-round play. Slovenia, which led 45-38 at halftime, defeated Cape Verde 92-77.

As a result, it set up a mouth-watering rematch of the Australia-Slovenia clash in the Tokyo 2020 tournament, a game in which the Aussies prevailed 107-93.

Australia playmaker Josh Giddey, who had a team-high 26 points in a win over Japan on Tuesday, looks forward to facing Doncic at Okinawa Arena.

"Obviously a lot of people are here to see him," Giddey said of Doncic after Tuesday's game. "He carries a heavy load for Slovenia, so a lot of our game plan is gonna revolve around him."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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