Veteran Omri Casspi leads Israel’s final roster

Embed from Getty Images

Israel are not heading into EuroBasket with a full head of steam after falling to defeat in all but one of their friendly games.

Even so there is a sound of optimism that can be detected from the national team camp.

“This may be a cliche,” Israel’s star forward Omri Casspi said after their recent defeat to Croatia, “but we will be entering the European Championships at 0-0.

“Even if we lose all our warm-up games or even if we had won them all, it would not have been that important.”

Israel coach Erez Edelstein did steer the team to a convincing win over Estonia in their last friendly tournament.

At no time in the preparations has he been dejected.

After falling in a couple of games against Serbia, who put forth a very impressive effort on defence, Edelstein said: “This is the intensity we will encounter in France.

“All the teams in Europe play defence like this.

“All in all, I’m happy. This is a process and we are a new team.

“This takes time.”

Edelstein, who is robbed of the services of veterans Yotam Halperin and Guy Pnini this summer due to back and Achilles injuries respectively, has finalised his roster and does have quality.

Casspi, the Israel captain, will arrive in France with several years of NBA basketball under his belt.

Center D’or Fischer and point guard Yogev Ohayon, players with a lot of experience in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, will also be vital for the Israelis as they target the fourth-place finish that is needed to advance to the knockout round.

Yaniv Green is another player with plenty of experience to offer Israel.

Having played in 184 international games in his long career, Green needs just four more appearances to equal the all-time mark held by Doron Jamchi.

The last four players to be cut are Afik Nissim, Oz Blayzer, Rafael Menco and Alexey Chubrevich.

Israel will face Russia, France, Finland, Poland and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group A.

Israel EuroBasket squad: Omri Casspi, Shawn Dawson, Lior Eliyahu, D’or Fischer, Yaniv Green, Elishay Kadir, Raviv Limonad, Gal Mekel, Yogev Ohayon, Boris Rothbart, Bar Timor and Dagan Yivzori.