According to the latest news from overseas, Phoenix Suns’ Frank Kaminsky might commit playing for the Serbian national basketball team. Igor Kokoskov, Sacramento Kings’ assistant coach, recently revealed this possibility.
Kokoskov, who was the first person born outside North America to become a head coach of one NBA team, was appointed Serbian national team head coach earlier this week. Immediately afterward, the 47-year old suggested that he would like to have the strongest possible squad at his disposal. Therefore Kaminsky became interesting, although he was never involved in the gatherings of the Serbian national team.
“I know that Frank has Serbian origins, I assume from his mother’s side. I don’t know all the details, but I will share that with my colleagues in the locker room. If we walk about the first summoning, everybody who has such potential needs to be involved,” said Kokoskov and added, “We will make contact with him.”
Kaminsky grew up in Woodridge, Illinois, in a Serbian community. While young, he appeared for the Serbian Eagles AC, who played basketball tournaments organized by the Serbian National Federation and was always pointing out his origins.
"It's an honor to represent your country."
Assistant Coach Igor Kokoskov speaks on being named Serbian National Team Head Coach 🇷🇸🎤 pic.twitter.com/hA6IvfD55l
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 21, 2019
During his stay in Belgrade last year, once promoting the first-ever Basketball Without Borders camp in Serbia, then Charlotte Hornets’ player admitted that he always had strong bonds with this country.
“I have Serbian origins. I played in the Serbian league in Chicago while growing up. I know a lot about the culture from the American point of view, and it is great to come here. My ties with Serbia are from my father’s side,” said Kaminsky back then.
The Serbian national team suffered one of the biggest failures in modern history, at the recently ended FIBA World Cup in China. The team led by Aleksandar Djordjevic finished fifth, although it came to China as the No.1 favorite, and was projected to be the only one who can handle Team USA. Eventually, the Serbs did beat Greg Popovich’s boys, but that was in the match for the fifth place.
After the tournament ended, Djordjevic decided to quit. For some two months, the candidates for his successor were picked carefully, and Kokoskov turned out to be the final choice.
He won the European championship with Slovenia, in 2017, coaching Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic. Ironically, he defeated Serbia in the finals. Kokoskov is one of the best coaches in the NBA, and many were surprised after his departure from Phoenix at the end of the previous campaign. Vlade Divac took him to Sacramento, where he currently works with Luke Walton.
This will be his first job connected with Serbia after almost 20 years, and he wants to make a strong impression. The Serbs are yet to secure their spot at the Olympics. In order to do so, they need to win the qualification tournament, and the competition is pretty harsh. Since there is no second-chance, Kokoskov has no room for any mistakes. It is why he wants to involve new faces and to refresh the squad a little bit.
Kaminsky would no doubt bring a new dimension to the Serbian team. Along with All-NBA center Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic from Sacramento as well as Nemanja Bjelica, this team would have the capacity to make a lot of noise at the Olympic tournament.