REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - Facing Tony Parker, Jose Calderon and Goran Dragic over a five-day stretch would be tough for any seasoned NBA veteran. Just imagine if you're a 19-year-old youngster facing that point guard trio at your first senior national team competition.
Welcome to the EuroBasket 2013 experience for Serbian point guard Vasilje Micic.
On Sunday, Micic and Serbia beat Parker and France
77-65 in the final game of group stage. On Wednesday, Micic's Serbs were beaten badly by Spain and Calderon 90-60 in the Quarter-Finals. On Thursday, Micic and Serbia will face off against Dragic and Slovenia with a berth at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup at stake for the winners.
With the game against Slovenia still to come, Micic has held his own and did not embarrass himself against France and Spain. He scored two points in 15 minutes against France before picking up eight points, three assists and two rebounds against the Spanish.
Micic talked to Eye on the Future about facing Parker after the game.
"We had a game against Parker in a friendly in France, but this game was something more than that," he said.
"So I just tried to follow him (smiling) and don't make some trouble because he's maybe the best point guard in the world. I had a one-on-one against him. It's a big thing for me."
All told in Slovenia, Micic has averaged 3.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 12.7 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from long range.
The 1.95m guard who turned 19 in January, has experienced a heck of a summer. He helped Serbia to the silver medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, making the All-Tournament Team.
He had two of his best games against a United States team stacked with future NBA stars such as Marcus Smart, Jahlil Okafor and Aaron Gordon.
Micic had 24 points, three assists and two rebounds in Serbia's 71-62 loss to Team USA in the Eight-Final Round before collecting 13 points and 10 assists in the Final - an 82-68 win for the Americans.
"I had a good tournament at the U19 World Championship and I knew that if I continue at that level that I can some big things for myself. I tried to continue that," said Micic looking back at the Prague tournament.
In the EuroBasket 2013 Quarter-Final loss, Spain hassled the Serbians early on but Micic did a good job handling the pressure when he was in the game.
Altogether, Serbia's legendary coach Dusan Ivkovic has been impressed with his young playmaker’s performance in Slovenia.
"He's a very, very talented guy. He was in the top five from the U19 World Championship and he has a great future ahead of him. My feeling is right that this guy understands the game beyond the juniors and this basketball is a very big difference," said Ivkovic.
Micic is already proving at EuroBasket 2013 that he's well beyond the junior level and ready to help Serbia's senior side in the future - optimally next summer at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
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