The Tall Blacks' road to the Tokyo Olympics will have to go through Serbia.

New Zealand's qualifying tournament of six has been drawn, with only the winner to make it to Japan next year.

Sixth-ranked Serbia pose the biggest threat to the Tall Blacks, while three of the other four teams outrank New Zealand. Italy, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Senegal will also compete in the qualifying tournament in Belgrade.

Serbia currently has six active players in the NBA including Denver Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokić.


The men's qualifiers start on June 23, just two days after a possible Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Canada, Serbia, Lithuania and Croatia are the host sites for the men's qualifiers. There are six teams in each, split into a pair of three-team groups at each site. Teams in the same group will play each other once to determine two semifinalists from each side. Those four teams will play a single-elimination tournament to decide the winner, and each of the four winners will get an Olympic berth.


Games to be played June 23-28

(World ranking in parentheses)

Format: Teams in each group play once, and the top two finishers from each group advance to qualifying semifinals. Only one team from each site will qualify for the Olympics.

At Victoria, Canada
Group A: Canada (21), Greece (7), China (27)
Group B: Czech Republic (10), Turkey (15), Uruguay (43)

At Split, Croatia
Group A: Germany (18), Russia (9), Mexico (25)
Group B: Croatia (14), Brazil (11), Tunisia (33)


At Kaunas, Lithuania
Group A: Lithuania (8), Venezuela (20), Korea (30)
Group B: Poland (13), Slovenia (16), Angola (32)

At Belgrade, Serbia
Group A: Serbia (6), Dominican Republic (19), New Zealand (24)
Group B: Italy (14), Puerto Rico (23), Senegal (35)