Dukan to play for U-20 Croatian National Team

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Wisconsin sophomore Duje Dukan is taking his talents to Spain.

Dukan will be spending a few weeks this summer playing for the Croatian National Team in the U-20 European Championships in Bilbao, Spain from July 14-24. Dukan, who was born in Split, Croatia, has dual citizenship in Croatia and the United States.

101106MBB-6091-13.jpg"I'm really excited about getting an opportunity to play for a national team and representing a county should be an unbelievable experience," Dukan said. "I'm going in with an open mind and I know that I'm going to have to learn on the fly."

Dukan will travel to Croatia on Thursday, June 2 and spend the first two weeks in a tryout/training setting.  The Croatian team will then play a few exhibition games before participating in the European Championships. Croatia is paired in Pool B with Latvia, France and Sweden.

The Deerfield, Ill., native was approached last summer about playing with the Croatian National Team, but after talking to head coach Bo Ryan decided to turn down the opportunity, instead enrolling in summer classes at UW and training in Madison with his new teammates.

When the Croatian National Team came calling again this summer, Ryan gave Dukan his blessing to play in the European Championships.

While international competition will be a new experience for Dukan, playing in a European setting won't be.

"My family has spent time in Europe every summer and while we're over there I've trained and practiced with one of the local teams," Dukan explained. "There are some rule changes in international basketball, a different ball and the game in general is just a little different, but being that I've been in that environment a little will hopefully help with the learning curve."

As a freshman, Dukan appeared in just eight games for the Badgers and is looking forward to the chance to get game minutes.

"I think this experience will help me out because I'll get to face the top European competition in my age group," Dukan added. "If I have aspirations of playing professional basketball after college, this will help me gauge my game a little. Also, this will definitely help for next year. I didn't play a lot of minutes last season, so just getting some game situations and play should help."

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