The arrival of the experienced power forward, who is currently the only Euroleague player in the national team, is priceless for the weakened and young Slovenia. "Anthony is a real professional. Upon his arrival he said he would give his best for us to still have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup. Many were already asking why the federation and coach are still counting on Randolph, saying he wouldn't come… But now we have proof of our efforts. A personal matter, which isn't for the public, prevented him from coming in June. That's why he couldn't come before, but now he's happy to be here. He came well prepared, he already had two weeks of training with Real Madrid so there won't be any problems," said Slovenia's head coach Rado Trifunović, who now has an additional quality player at his disposal.
When coach Trifunović announced his list of players, the Slovenian Basketball Federation revealed that all those playing in the Spanish league would arrive in Slovenia just a few days before the qualification matches. Coach Trifunović admitted then that he would first have to see Randolph in Ljubljana, before believing he would play. The 29-year-old basketball player who is 211 centimeters tall is now in Stožice. And despite the calmness in his talk and his, at first glance, uninterested approach, Randolph is determined to keep the team alive and with a chance of qualifying for the basketball World Cup: "I'm well prepared and want to give my best and help the team score two victories."
Fiba's windows a cause for Slovenia's difficult position
Randolph could not play in the first two qualification cycles because of his responsibilities with Real Madrid in the Euroleague. In May, in Belgrade, he won the Euroleague title together with Luka Dončić. And at the start of the qualifications Slovenia suffered a surprise defeat in Belarus.With that loss, and the two losses that followed in June against Spain and Montenegro in Stožice, Slovenia has almost closed its doors to the basketball World Cup, which will take place next year in China. Two more losses in the next six matches will prove fatal and leave Slovenia without a World Cup after three consecutive appearances at the world championships.
The national team, which now has a number of new, mostly young and inexperienced players, is in an unfortunate position after some poor results mostly because of the cancellation of some of Slovenia's key players. "We still have some players from last year's team and it's still the same national team. We have to make sure that these young players start feeling good in the new team. They're working hard and putting a lot of effort into it, which makes up for their inexperience," said Randolph, who believes Slovenia can beat Latvia and Turkey. Randolph was excellent at last year's Eurobasket quarter-final match against the Latvians, when he played well under the basket against the star of the New York Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis.