Estonia head coach Tiit Sokk has announced the 12 players who will have the honour to play for their country in its first EuroBasket in 14 years, commencing their campaign in Group D on Saturday.
The EuroBasket 2015 roster comprises largely of the same group of players who achieved the historic feat by claiming first place in the 1st Qualification Round, in the summer of 2013.
Veteran forward Kristjan Kangur, who has long experience in the Italian Serie A and versatile forward Siim-Sander Vene of Lithuanian powerhouse Zalgiris Kaunas headline the Estonian team.
Kangur, who turns 33 in October is also the most senior player on Estonia’s EuroBasket roster closely followed by winger Gregor Arbet and big man Janar Talts, as both turned 32 earlier this year.
Other heroes of the 2013 qualifying campaign who made the final cut for the showpiece tournament which tips off Saturday are guards Sten Sokk, Tanel Sokk, Gert Dorbek and Rain Veideman, as well as center Reinar Hallik.
Joosep Toome and Tanel Kurbas return to the national team after four years as they last played in Division B in 2011 while 25-year-old guard Erik Keedus, who had only suited up for Estonia at youth level, has made the senior national team for the fisyt time in his career.
The only two players from the 2013 squad who will not get to step out at EuroBasket 2015 are Martin Dorbek, who was the last cut by coach Sokk, and Timo Eichfuss.
“Martin Dorbek was very good throughout the summer training camp and it was a difficult choice, but it had to be done,” explained coach Sokk.
“We decided to opt for experience this time but I will say that Martin is a very good player, he is going to have an exciting season in the VTB United League and we will certainly see him back to the national team very soon.
The BC Kalev/Cramo point guard considers himself honoured to have been part of the group until the very last moment.
“I am not really disappointed, for me it was a positive experience in any case, to be part of the team for so long,” Dorbek said.
“I am pleased that at least I will be in Riga and watch the games from up close, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.”
Estonia’s first EuroBasket game in 14 years will be against the Czech Republic and they will then go up against Belgium, Ukraine, Lithuania and finally hosts Latvia.
The Estonian EuroBasket 2015 roster consists of: Gregor Arbet, Gert Dorbek, Reinar Hallik, Kristjan Kangur, Erik Keedus, Tanel Kurbas, Sten-Timmu Sokk, Tanel Sokk, Janar Talts, Joosep Toome, Rain Veideman, Siim-Sander Vene.