Heat’s Yurtseven, Jovic face quick camp turnaround from busy schedules with national teams – The Denver Post


Amid a typical NBA calendar, such as the one the league has gotten back to after a pair of pandemic-altered seasons, August tends to be the month of escape.

Jimmy Butler touring Europe. Bam Adebayo with a vacation planned with his mother. Pat Riley on the Isle of Capri off the Amalfi.

This year, when it comes to a pair of Miami Heat international prospects, it will mean an early return to work, with a schedule that could bump almost hard against the late-September start of training camp.

Both Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic have been selected to train with their national teams ahead of the next European World Cup qualifying window and EuroBasket 2022.

Jovic, taken at No. 27 by the Heat in June’s NBA draft, already has returned to Serbia after being limited in summer league by a quadriceps injury. Yurtseven is in South Florida but scheduled to return to Turkey at mid-month, having been unable to participate in summer league due to a quadriceps injury sustained in the previous round of World Cup qualifying.

The Heat’s position has been to support their players in international competitions, even with the European schedule this summer running as late as Sept. 18 and Heat training camp expected to open Sept. 27. That is unlike a year ago, when Adebayo and Team USA finished off their Olympic gold-medal run at the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 6.

Unlike Yurtseven, a veteran of Turkey’s national team at 24, Jovic merely has an invitation to try out for the Serbian national team led by Nikola Jokic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and former Heat forward Nemanja Bjelica. At 19, the 6-foot-11 forward is the second youngest player of those called for the national team’s camp, having previously played for Serbia’s senior national team in World Cup qualifying when NBA players were unavailable.

Up next for Serbia and Jovic, should he make the national team, is an Aug. 25 World Cup qualifying game against Greece. Jovic did not play in Serbia’s previous World Cup qualifier, already in summer league with the Heat when his national team, lacking Jokic, lost to Belgium on July 4.

Should Jovic make and remain with the national team, his first game with Serbia at EuroBasket would be Sept. 2 against the Netherlands in Prague, Czech Republic.

For Yurtseven, who was injured in Turkey’s July 3 World Cup qualifying victory over England, the next World Cup qualifying game is Aug. 25 against Greece.

Turkey then was scheduled to begin EuroBasket on Sept. 1 against Russia, with the game canceled with Russia ruled ineligible. Turkey instead will play on Sept. 1 against Montenegro in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

The preliminary round of EuroBasket runs through Sept. 8.

Several NBA teams are braced for late-arriving players to camp after EuroBasket. Among NBA players scheduled to complete in EuroBasket beyond Jokic, Marjanovic and Bjelica for Serbia, are Giannis Antetokounmpo for Greece, Luka Doncic, Vlatko Cancar and Dragic for Slovenia; Jusuf Nurkic for Bosnia; Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier for France; Dennis Schroder, Franz Wager and Mortiz Wagner for Germany; Danilo Gallinari for Italy; Domantas Sabonis for Lithuania; Yurtseven, Cedi Osman, Alperen Sengun and Furkan Korkmaz for Turkey. Several other participating basketball federations have yet to submit rosters.

Heat players generally tend to begin to congregate at FTX Arena a week or two before the start of training camp, but younger players often spend most of the summer working with the coaches on the team’s practice court.

The Heat have worked previously to accommodate such international scheduling, with Dragic returning on the eve of 2017 training camp after leading Slovenia to its first EuroBasket championship. He went on that season to become an All-Star for the lone time in his NBA career.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra visited with Dragic in Slovenia ahead of 2017 EuroBasket and later said he believed the competition steeled the veteran guard for the NBA season ahead. Spoelstra also limited Dragic’s work in camp that preseason.

Yurtseven is expected to compete in camp for playing time behind Adebayo at center, with Jovic seen as more of a long-term developmental prospect.



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