Few teams generated more excitement heading into the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup than Slovenia, and it’s for a pretty obvious reason. The Slovenians finished in fourth place at the most recent Summer Olympics thanks to the singular brilliance of Luka Doncic, who is unquestionably one of the best basketball players on earth and always seems to have a little something extra when he gets the chance to represent his country on the hardwood.
With Goran Dragic deciding to retire from the national team, Doncic is the only active NBA player on the roster. As such, all eyes were on him heading into the team’s World Cup opener on Saturday against Venezuela, and unsurprisingly, the 2023 All-NBA First Team selection was nothing short of brilliant.
While Venezuela was able to keep things close in the first half, Doncic helped Slovenia pull away in the third quarter en route to a 100-85 win. He was, per usual, in total control of his surroundings, and by the time game to an end, the Dallas Mavericks star registered 37 points on 11-for-18 shooting with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a block.
Next up for Slovenia is their most difficult game in group play, as the team will take on Georgia, which beat Cape Verde earlier in the day on Saturday. The game, which will take place on Aug. 28, is set to tip off in the United States at 7:30 a.m. EST on ESPN+.