|04 December 2012|
|Goran Dragic has already participated in three EuroBasket Final Rounds|
EuroBasket 2013 will be the biggest sporting event in the young history of Slovenia and the small central European country is pulling together to turn it into a memorable occasion.
Everyone, from young children who want to assist as volunteers, to the nation's brightest stars who will take to the floor, wants to be a part of it.
Some of the latter are plying their trade away from home but that does not prevent them from looking forward to the big September rendezvous with untamed enthusiasm.
"I'm definitely playing at the EuroBasket," Goran Dragic told RTV SLO from New York on Sunday night.
"God forbid I have some injury.
"I will be so glad to play at the EuroBasket, the whole of Slovenia will support us and we're not shying away from responsibility.
"We will need the support to obtain a good result and reach the medals," the Phoenix Suns point guard added.
Could the big September event woo back to the national team someone like Beno Udrih, who has not suited up for the national team since the EuroBasket 2005 Qualifying Round?
Dragic revealed he spoke to the Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard over the phone a month ago, and he's optimistic.
"I hope he will come and we will finally have a strong Slovenia," the 26-year-old said.
For obvious reasons, Dragic talks much more often with another potential member of Slovenia's EuroBasket squad - his 23-year-old brother Zoran, who moved to Unicaja Malaga in the Spanish Liga Endesa from KRKA Novo Mesto in the summer.
"I catch his games whenever I get the time," he said.
"I think that he is doing well, even better than I was when I went for the first time to Spain.
The oldest of the two brothers played for Spanish powerhouse Caja Laboral before crossing the Atlantic.
"It's not easy; you have to get used to a different style of play, a different life and language," he explained.
Dragic returned to the Suns, the club he debuted with in the NBA, after a two-year spell at the Houston Rockets.
The 1.93m playmaker has started at the point in all 18 games so far this season, with Poland's Marcin Gortat starting at the 5 spot.
"They gave me the opportunity to play for the first time in the NBA and I respect this, I hope that I will stay as long as possible in Phoenix," he said.
Dragic, who is averaging 15.5 and 6.6 assists per game, was speaking to the press after his team's game against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The Slovenian had a rare discreet night, with nine points and five assists, and the Suns lost 106-99, but he is not worried.
"If we look at the last four games, we really played a little worse, but I think we have the potential, we are a young team, he said.
"We need to work hard day by day and I hope we'll make the play-offs.
"It's hard, because we have seven or eight new players and are still looking for the right chemistry.
"I am generally satisfied from my personal performances and maybe today (Sunday) was my worst game this season.
"However, we have 82 games and it's impossible to play well in each one."