PODGORICA (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Montenegro boss Luka Pavicevic is finding the going very tough in France, where he coaches club side Chorale Roanne.
Pavicevic’s outfit has won five of its last nine games but a slow start still has the club 13th in the 16-team league.
If he needs a positive distraction, all Pavicevic has to do is look abroad at the performances of his national team players.
He will see the rapid development of 21-year-old forward Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket in Spain and one eyebrow-raising effort after another by NBA players Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) and Nikola Pekovic (Minnesota).
The EuroBasket will be held in Slovenia 4-22 September and Pavicevic will be hoping to have all three players available as Montenegro take aim at a spot in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The 2.05m Dubljevic is a player many are tipping to join the Pekovic and Vucevic in the NBA one day.
In Valencia's 113-111 win over Bilbao at the weekend, he poured in 32 points and was a perfect 13 of 13 from the free-throw line.
The effort earned the 21-year-old the distinction as the MVP of Week 16 in the Liga Endesa.
"I personally think that this is the best game that I have had in Valencia and would also say it's the best game of my career," Dubljevic said.
Dubljevic, who had to leave Tuesday night’s game against VEF Riga with a bloody nose but returned wearing a facemask, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
The Orlando Magic have been struggling but Vucevic has been downright terrific.
In their 125-119 overtime defeat to Portland on Monday, he had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Vucevic, who arrived in Orlando from Philadelphia in a trade last summer, caused a major stir on New Year's Eve against the reigning champions Miami Heat when scoring a career-high 20 points and pulling down a franchise record 29 rebounds.
That second number is hugely impressive when considering that rebounding behemoths Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard spent several seasons with the Magic.
O'Neal once had 28 in a game early in November, 1993.
Up in Minnesota, Pekovic was an injury doubt before Tuesday night's game but played and had a career-high 18 rebounds to go with 25 points as the injury-plagued Timberwolves won 108-103 over Atlanta.
He now has eight double-doubles in his last 13 games.
"I think everybody was motivated with all that's happening with all our players," he said.
"I think everybody wants to step up and show more."
Montenegro will need all hands on deck this summer.
The national team will play in the 'Group of Death', Group B, with Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD).