On Saturday, the 2023 FIBA World Cup featured the final two classification games before the teams competed for top-three placement on Sunday. The standout player of the day was Luka Doncic, who led Slovenia to an 89-85 victory over Italy, securing seventh place for his team. This positive finish came after disappointing losses to Canada and Lithuania. Doncic came close to a triple-double, finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Slovenia’s seventh-place finish continues their successful run in international basketball, following a fourth-place finish in the 2021 Olympics and a gold medal win at EuroBasket 2017.
Another notable player from Saturday’s action was Arturs Kurucs from Latvia. Kurucs, the brother of former NBA forward Rodions Kurucs, showcased his shooting skills by scoring 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. He also contributed four rebounds and two assists in just over 20 minutes of play.
Latvia’s impressive tournament run was fueled by point guard Arturs Zagars, who played a crucial role in their fifth-place win over Lithuania. Zagars set a World Cup record with 17 assists, showcasing his playmaking abilities. At only 23 years old, Zagars is expected to be one of the faces of Latvia’s flourishing basketball program in the years to come.