Who is Slovenia’s 21-year-old World Cup hero?


Ziga Samar is no stranger to achievement, but the young point guard admits that he is “really proud” of helping Slovenia qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in the most recent window of European Qualifications. This is especially true given that the majority of people in Slovenia were not anticipating Slovenia’s qualification.

In the absence of 10 players from the team that competed in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, the 21-year-old playmaker stepped up his game and led Slovenia to two wins in Group J. As a result, Slovenia secured a spot in the World Cup despite missing out on the 2019 competition.

“Because we did not qualify for the World Cup in China, this is of utmost significance for Slovenia. It’s fantastic news for Slovenia, which, if I’m not mistaken, is a basketball-crazed nation that absolutely needs to compete in major events “Samar remarked.

The native of Jesenice contributed 13 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in Slovenia’s victory over Israel (75-62) and then followed that up with 14 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block in Slovenia’s victory over Germany (81-75), which ensured that the country would make its fourth appearance in the World Cup.


Samar and Edo Muric were the only two players on the Slovenia team who participated in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022

Unfortunately for Slovenia, they were ousted by Poland in the Quarter-Finals of the competition. Samar was also one of six players in the window who were under the age of 22, which contributed to the overall reduction in expectations in his own country.

“At the beginning of this time period, we had the confidence that we could pull it off. But we were also aware that we were a young team, and nobody in Slovenia anticipated that we would be able to pull it off because a significant number of the more experienced players were absent “Samar stated.

The point guard for Hamburg Towers stated that Muric and his leadership were a significant cause for Slovenia’s success in obtaining the two wins.

“Muric is a wonderful man. He embodies the ideal of a captain. He simply let us to have fun “Samar stated. “He was aware of the fact that we were still relatively young and that it would not be healthy for us to be subjected to an excessive amount of strain. As a result, on offense he did nothing except let us play and enjoy the game. On defense, though, he wanted us to take it seriously and make an effort to press the ball at all times. He wanted us to make an effort to do our thing, and in the end, we were successful.”

This past summer, Samar competed for his senior national team at a major competition for the first time at EuroBasket. But in the past, he had already enjoyed the fruits of his labor.

In order to gain promotion back to Division A, he assisted Slovenia in finishing second overall in the Division B at the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship. He also led Slovenia to its second U18 continental podium result, after finishing second in 2002, when it finished third at the FIBA U18 European Championship the following summer. Samar assisted Real Madrid in 2019 in capturing the U18 ANGT championship.

young and emerging Slovenians took advantage of the EuroBasket to pick the brains of Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic, two of their nation’s most influential figures.

“Simply seeing them and conversing with them during practice will help you sharpen your basketball IQ and vision. Dragic also taught me how to do some things off the court and how to be a good leader on the court through some movies “explained Samar.

Samar was an obvious choice for the window given how well he has been doing in Germany since the season’s start. For Hamburg, he averages 9.0 points, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals.

“In Hamburg, I play a significant role as well. I adopted that trait from the national team because I need to be a leader on the court when I play “Samar, who is on loan from Hamburg to Hamburg after signing a long-term contract with three-time defending German champions ALBA Berlin this summer, said.

He still has this season to continue his outstanding progress, and ideally Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic will choose him to travel to Asia with the team next summer.

“The World Cup is a fantastic sporting event. It will be a great pleasure for me to represent my country at what I believe to be one of the world’s toughest competitions. I would be quite proud if I were part of the group of 12 boys “Samar, who turns 22 in January, stated. “Then, in this competition, we’ll endeavor to succeed and earn a medal. We truly didn’t perform our duties this summer in the manner that was expected of us. I believe that this is another opportunity to do it.”

Another opportunity at a time when Slovenians have high hopes.

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