Cape Verde displaced Montenegro as the smallest country to ever qualify for a FIBA World Cup. Making its second consecutive appearance, however, Montenegro may make more noise.
In its 2019 debut, Montenegro finished 25th in the World Cup. Since then, however, the country has kept rising on the international stage, reaching a ranking of 18th in the world.
The big name on the roster is two-time NBA All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls. The center is coming off another solid season, averaging 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. The Montenegro squad will go where Vucevic can take them.
At the 2019 World Cup, Montenegro won just one game in the competition. Vucevic was solid, averaging 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, but he’s not getting any younger – expect him to leave it all out on the court this summer.
Point guard Kendrick Perry played his college ball at Youngstown State. The three-time First Team All-Horizon League player won the championship in the Montegrian League last year.
Fellow guard Nikola Ivanovic is another player to watch. He played a critical role in Montenegro’s qualifying campaign. The 29-year-old has spent recent years in the Adriatic League and has won the Montenegrin League title six separate times.
After finishing 13th at the last two EuroBasket competitions, Montenegro wants to prove it can make the leap on the international stage. Their group includes Mexico, Lithuania, and Egypt, giving them a real opportunity to advance past the group stage at the World Cup.