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Ales-Pipan-24-01-2013
Ales Pipan (coach of MKD) - EuroBasket 2011
24/01/2013
MKD - Pipan upbeat about national team chances

SKOPJE (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Expect the look of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD) to be a little different this summer when the national team that is now coached by Ales Pipan shows up at EuroBasket 2013.

Pipan, who has just been unveiled to the media after being named last week as the replacement for Marjan Lazovski, hails from Slovenia himself and coached their national team for several summers before leading Poland the last two years.

His preferred style of play, MKD Federation President Daniel Dimeski says, is different to that of EuroBasket 2011 coach Marin Dokuzovski and FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) boss Lazovski.

"He has a good strategy, prefers modern transitional and fast and high-scoring basketball and has experience," Dimeski said.

"Pipan was the first choice, with several others in line but there will be no mentioning of names at this point because it is all over."

Pipan, who is currently coaching MZT Skopje, says he has signed a deal that runs through the EuroBasket, but that there is a chance for him to continue if both sides are satisfied.

He is champing at the bit to lead MKD, a team that took the international game by storm in Lithuania when it reached the EuroBasket 2011 Semi-Finals and earned a trip to the OQT.

They will take on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Serbia, Montenegro and Latvia in Group B, the toughest of the pools at the EuroBasket.

"I can't promise results and there is no pressure from the federation for exact results," Pipan said.

"They just want MKD to play well again."

Sweet-shooting big man Todor Gecevski has retired, and after the OQT there were comments by veterans Vlado Ilievski and Pero Antic that they, too, would not be coming back to the MKD national side.

But Pipan isn't counting out Ilievski or Antic.

"The results will depend on our roster," Pipan said, "the form of selected players and of course the opponents' quality, but the team can compete and expect victory against anyone in Europe.

"I will call all the players, no matter what they said after Caracas and hope that those statements (for withdrawal) were emotional.

"I want team spirit, concentration from the first to last minute, tough defense.

"There are a lot of youngsters waiting in line. New names are a possibility."

In Skopje, the feeling is that Andrej Magdevski could break into the squad.

A 1.90m point guard on the books of Partizan Belgrade, Magdevski only turned 17 on 14 January.

He averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 assists and eight rebounds for MKD at the 2012 U16 European Championship Division B.

Another youngster surely to break into the team in the near future is 1.85m shooting guard Kristijan Nikolov, who is on the books of Fenerbahce and played with Magdevski at the U16 event, averaging 25.9 points.

MKD will have warm-up games for the EuroBasket against Spain, Russia, Lithuania, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and Poland. There is also the possibility of a friendly against Georgia.

As for Dimeski, he says MKD's terrific run at the EuroBasket in Lithuania was not the end, but only the beginning.

"Lithuania and Caracas were not the last words of MKD basketball,” he said.

FIBA

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