LITHUANIA – “For rising star Nikola Vucevic, a historic Eurobasket debut for Montenegro has given him the perfect platform to showcase his talent.

Recognised as one of the most promising players of his age group, he is currently continuing his development by testing his skills at the very highest level.

So far at least, he is relatively satisfied with his efforts which include helping his nation to secure a famous first Final Round success.

“I think that I did well in the first games we played,” says Vucevic.

“I just always try to play hard on defense, rebound well and take good shots on offense,” he said.

“I try to do what the coaches ask me to do so that I can help the team win.

“I guess my role is different here than the one I had in college where I was the main guy.

“Here we have a lot of good players so everyone has to sacrifice a little bit in the best interests of our team,” he added.

“The first win was very important for the players, the coaching staff and our fans.

“For the players, it was very important because it took some pressure off us to get that first win and also it helped our confidence.

“It is very important to win the first game when you are in a tournament like EuroBasket where every game matters.”

Having been selected with the 16th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in last June’s NBA draft, Vucevic is acutely aware of the spotlight he is now under but is trying to handle the situation and use it to his advantage.

“I would not say that I feel pressure because of it. I understand that people expect a lot from me and I am ready to live up to those expectations,” he reasoned.

“In fact, those expectations give me motivation to work even more.

“It’s a good thing when people talk about you and expect things from you since it must mean that you are good.”

One huge factor in his favour is being able to learn from the best both on and off the court.

Not only does he have coaches such as Dejan Radonjic and Dusko Vujosevic at his disposal, but he is also quick to pay tribute to Nikola Pekovic and the role his fellow big man has had in helping him evolve as a player.”

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