SZOMBATHELY (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Montenegro boss Luka Pavicevic is optimistic but also anxious these days as he coaches a squad that isn't at full strength yet ahead of the EuroBasket.
The event in Slovenia, a qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, is just over a month a way and the Montenegrins have some injuries and late-shows on the frontline.
The national side that won all 10 of its games last summer in the EuroBasket Qualification Round has travelled to Szombathely, Hungary, to play in a couple of friendly games against the hosts and Austria.
The squad has had 17 days of preparations in Podgorica and then Zlatibor, so this weekend is the first time Pavicevic will see his players in game action.
"I expect after a grueling preparation in Zlatibor for us to play two good games in Szombathely," he said.
"We have a lot of problems with the inside line because at the beginning of the preparations, we could not count on the NBA players (Nikola) Pekovic and (Nikola) Vucevic."
The two are expected at the start of August.
"Add to that the bad luck with centers that have said qualifying last year (and the club seasons) have taken their toll," said Pavicevic.
"(Blagota) Sekulic and Milko Bjelica need rest and recovery."
Both are also expected to arrive next month after some extra rest.
"Without those two, and (Marko) Todorovic, who recently had surgery, and two NBA centers, and that has left us with only two senior (big men) players, Vladimir Dasic and Bojan Dubljevic.
"Because of this, we're travelling to the tournament in Hungary with the center line decimated."
Pavicevic is nevertheless looking forward to see the players who are in the squad show their worth.
"I think it will be a good test for us because we are getting out of full training and playing against teams that are hoping for success in the qualifying for EuroBasket 2015 in Ukraine, and Hungary and Austria have already played 10 games," he said.
"They began preparing a month earlier than us."
Taylor Rochestie, who was the naturalized point guard last summer, has been granted a leave of absence to travel to the United States for a family commitment.
Tyrese Rice, recently given Montenegrin citizenship, will therefore get a lot of minutes in the games in Hungary.
Montenegro can only take one of the naturalized players to the EuroBasket.
"We will take the opportunity to have Tyrese Rice join fit into our system," the coach said.
"I hope to have good games, good health, and I believe that we will properly close the first phase of preparation.
"Also, I believe that from the beginning of August, we'll begin to fully gather (all players) and add fit players who have not worked with us.
"Although it will be hard to fit all that in the first part of August, we will use maximum effort to have ensure a high quality work to get them to the level and form of the game that is essential for the European Championship (EuroBasket).
Montenegro squad that has travelled to Hungary: Nikola Ivanovic, Suad Sehovic, Sead Sehovic, Alex Popovic, Marko Popovic, Vladimir Dasic, Bojan Dubljevic, Tyrese Rice, Radoje Vujosevic, Bojan Bakic, Stevan Milosevic, and Nemanja Radovic.