Aco Petrovic to coach Croatia again
Aleksandar 'Aco' Petrovic is to remain at the helm of Croatia and lead the team at FIBA EuroBasket 2017, the country's basketball federation has announced.
The veteran tactician took the reins last year and guided the national side to a stunning FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) triumph in Turin to get the team to the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Once in Brazil, Croatia had a memorable opening game against Spain when they beat the No. 2 side in the FIBA World Rankings at the death and went on to finish top of Group B. The magical summer came to an end, however, in a narrow defeat to Serbia in the Quarter-Finals.
Petrovic had stepped into the breach not long before the OQT with the federation struggling to find a replacement for Velimir Perasovic, who had coached the team at EuroBasket 2015.
Since the Rio Games, Petrovic has received the backing of one of Croatia's most important players, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Dario Saric, and now he's set to continue at the helm with the national side to face Spain, Montenegro, Hungary, the Czech Republic and hosts Romania in Group C.
Croatia's Expert Council, led by former national team great Dino Radja, had recommended that Petrovic be the coach and on Thursday, the federation's general assembly confirmed he would be at the helm.
Petrovic rarely sits down during games
After the Olympics, Petrovic returned to Croatia and served as chief executive for Adriatic League and Basketball Champions League club Cibona. He abandoned that post recently after the club's decision to sell its best player, rising star Ante Zizic, to Turkish side Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul.
Petrovic will now be able to focus solely on his role as Croatia coach.
Earlier in his career, Croatia had success with Petrovic, the brother of the late Drazen Petrovic, at the helm. He steered the team to third place at the EuroBasket in 1995.