The Israel men’s national basketball team is 2-1 after losing 85-76 to Poland earlier today. There won’t be much time for them to pout though, since they face off against Serbia tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on ESPN Plus, which requires a subscription.
Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija fell down to earth against the Poles earlier today. He only scored 3 points and couldn’t get going because the Polish focused on him, and rightfully so. Hopefully, Avdija will have a better game tomorrow, because this contest will be Israel’s toughest in the group, on paper of course.
The Serbians are led by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, the two-time reigning NBA MVP. He is averaging 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for the sixth-ranked team in the world. The rest of the Serbian roster is made of teams that often play internationally in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. I’d keep an eye on Anadolu point guard Vasilije Micic, who is averaging 14 points and 9 assists per game in group play.
Avdija also has a personal connection to Serbia, because he is Serbian himself! His father, Zufer, played for Yugoslavia, Serbia’s predecessor state in the 1980s and was on the 1982 FIBA World Championship squad that won the bronze medal. Zufer has since relocated to Israel (which is why Deni is Israeli) and is now the GM of Beni Herzliya of the Israeli Premier League.
Given that Israel is ranked No. 42, they are expected to lose tomorrow. But hopefully, they will keep things interesting for longer stretches than the Netherlands did on the first day of group play.
- Capital: Belgrade
- Population: 6.7 million
- National Anthem: Bože pravde/Боже правде (God of Justice)
- Most well-known things from Serbia: I have heard of the Plazma biscuits, which is made by Bambi, a food manufacturing company. That said, I am not as familiar with Serbia and most of the former Yugoslavian states’ economies like I am with western European countries. If you are Serbian and want to help me flesh this out, please write in the comments about all the great things that Serbia has to offer!
- Attractions I would like to see in Serbia: I have mentioned city attractions in countries like Finland, the Netherlands and Poland. So in Serbia, I would like to go to Tara Mountain and go on some longer hikes. Also, I would like to see Zaovine Lake, which is completely manmade.
- Official Language: Serbian
- What do Poles call their country? Srbija/Србија (Serbia)
- The first Serbian I can think of whose name isn’t Nikola: Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic is the easy answer for me for modern times. But I’d alsosay Nikola Tesla is the GOAT for Serbians however. He made a number of inventions that helped society make use electricity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- What is a popular song in Serbia by Serbian artists? I could not find an official Top 100 list on Apple Music for Serbia. Hopefully, this link is accurate since the American songs on the chart are all current. Zera’s Baraba is one of the most popular songs on the list, and here’s the music video: