Eurobasket champions Spain have a favourable draw as they travel to Romania to open their 2017 campaign in Cluj-Napoca.
The 2015 winners will face Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Hungary and hosts Romania in Group C. Eurobasket runners-up Lithuania will be housed in Tel Aviv, where they are drawn with the hosts Israel, Ukraine, Georgia, Italy and Germany.
Group D, which takes place at the Ulker Sports Arena on the Asian side of Istanbul looks to be the toughest pool of the four as Turkey hosts Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Latvia and Belgium.
“It’s going to be a very tough group but I’m excited,” said GB guard Andrew Lawrence via Facebook Live. “The draw is tough. Group D is probably one we didn’t want to be in. It’s very tough teams in that group but we look forward to it because we’ll be playing against top teams.
“It’s going to be hard to get out of it with teams like Turkey, Russia, Serbia, Belgium and Latvia – all very strong teams with very good domestic leagues and guys who play in the NBA or at Euroleague level or around Europe at very good clubs. it will be a very tough competition but it’s something we look forward to. Playing against the best brings out the best in you.”
The draw comes after a lengthy and at times unnecessary build up which included strange dance routines and the unveiling of the tournament mascot called ‘Sam Dunk’, whose ultimate dream is become a basketball player and has rocket boots so that he can jump high enough to compete with the world’s best players.
The draw eventually took place an hour after the ceremony took place in Istanbul.
Group A and B will tip-off action on Thursday, August 31 with Group C and D starting a day later. The group phase will conclude on September 7, at which stage the top four teams from each group advance to Istanbul for the final round.
The tournament will conclude with the final, to be played in Sinan Erdem Arena on 17 September.