Oct. 2, 2013
RUSTON - With summer break coming to an end, all of the Louisiana Tech basketball players were packing their bags to come back to Ruston.
Not forward Stojan Gjuroski though. He was packing his bags for Slovenia to take part in the 2013 European Championships.
The redshirt junior was a member of the 12-man roster for his home country of Macedonia and was getting ready to face off against the best players from 24 European nations in Euro Basket 2013, a tournament that has been going on every two years since 1935.
"It was amazing," Gjuroski said about the event. "It was my first time to play for the national team. I had already played for the U16, U18 and U20, but now it was the next step, especially to play in the European Championships. It was a great experience for me."
Gjuroski was in the company of current NBA greats like Tony Parker of France and Marc Gasol of Spain, bumping into them in the hotel and riding next to them in the elevators.
He saw limited action for F.Y.R. of Macedonia as the team went 1-4 in Group B of the qualification round with their lone win over Serbia. The team was unable to advance from there and ultimately finished in 21st place, but not before Gjuroski gained valuable experience and exposure.
"I grew up as a player and I put my name out there for other people to know me," Gjuroski said. "I was guarding [former NBA guard] Rudy Fernandez when we played against Spain in a friendly game. He was so fast. It was good and I think I did a pretty good job."
His favorite moment did not come in Slovenia though. It came in his home country when he got to play a friendly game versus Lithuania in front of his family for the first time.
"There was like 10,000 people," Gjuroski said about the game which gave him chills. "Just the national anthem going and my family watching me, it was special."
France ended up defeating Lithuania 80-66 in the finals to claim the gold.