Serbian basketball legend Vlade Divac called Nemanja Bjelica and Marko Keselj represent the future of Serbian basketball and said his young compatriots should have the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA but be careful of not going too early.

“Bjelica and Keselj are the future of our basketball. And I think Milos (Teodosic), Nenad Kristic and a couple other guys will be in their prime and can help out Bjelica and Keselj a lot to take over and have good national team career,” said Divac around the FIBA Hall of Fame ceremony in Istanbul at the 2010 World Championship.

Divac also mentioned that Teodosic will be important to Serbia’s game down the road as well.

“Milos is crazy – in a positive way. He may do a lot of stupid things during the game. But when the game is on the line, he’s gonna take a tough shot. He’s gonna make a good pass. He’s very important for our team. He’s one of the key players for the Serbia team.”

Divac took silver at the 1988 and 1996 Olympics and won World Championships gold in 1990 and 2002 while taking EuroBasket gold in 1989, 1991 and 1995.

The Prijepolje native played 16 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets and Sacremento Kings, who retired his No. 21 jersey in March 2009. He was named to the All-Rookie Team in 1990 and reached the Western Conference finals with the Kings in 2002 before losing to the Lakers. He announced his retirement in June 2005.

Divac said all Serbian youngsters should dream about playing in the NBA – though there is a time for it.

“They should all go there. Definitely the ultimate goal should be to be part of the NBA. But they have to achieve something in Europe before they go there. We have a couple of players who went too early over there. They went there too early and sat on the bench and wasted their time. They should definitely feel right and strong mentally ready for the NBA because it’s very tough to play over there,” said Divac.

The former basketball great now serves as the president of Serbia’s National Olympic Committee. And he told heinnews about his efforts in that position.

“Beside basketball we have very talented players in tennis, shooting, water polo, track and field and judo and lots of different sports. I try to donate my time to work for those kids and make sure that there is funding and money for their preparation for London 2012. I think it’s a great opportunity for them.”

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