After capturing the Basketball Without Borders MVP award, rising star Deni Avdija will be making his Senior Israel National Team debut Thursday night when the Blue & White face Germany at the Drive In Arena in Tel Aviv. The projected 2020 NBA lottery pick will get his chance to shine on the international stage once again after winning a Gold Medal with the U20 squad this past summer.
Avdija looked ahead to the matchup against Germany and Sunday’s contest on the road in Serbia:
“I am very excited to make my debut and there isn’t anything better than to represent your country at such a young age. It’s a huge honor.”
The National Team is the pinnacle for many athletes and Avdija is putting in a huge effort in order to be at his best, “Of course I’ve been busy over the last month. But the National Team is above everything else and it’s an honor to wear the uniform. I’m very proud and I want to put my best in at practice and in the games.”
Avdija’s father, Zufer represented Yugoslavia and is Serbian which could have been an option for Deni, but he chose to be loyal to his birth country, “I’m totally behind my choice to represent Israel. I won a Gold medal this past summer in the Under-20 European Championships with my teammates and I’ve played for Israel in many campaigns. There isn’t anything better in my opinion than to represent Israel. Playing against Serbia is also great, it will be a special game.”
With his debut just hours away, Avdija wants to make the most of his opportunity, “As a young player you want to take part in every game and play as many minutes as possible. You want to give 100% when you get your chance. I’m proud to be here and I’ll continue to work hard.”
Make sure to follow The Sports Rabbi on Twitter @thesportsrabbi as we cover Deni Avdija’s National Team debut live in Tel Aviv against Germany on Thursday at 19:30 Israel time when the Blue & White tip-off against Germany