With Eurobasket drawing to a conclusion on Sunday, the new international era begins with the World Cup qualifiers in just two months, but two stars are unlikely to be part of it.
It’s no surprise that with the NBA and EuroLeague season in full swing during the qualifiers, players will not be able to commit to the international campaign and Greece’s Georgios Printezis along with Italy’s Luigi Datome have stepped forward and announced that their respective futures away from the club scene is uncertain.
Both Datome (Fenerbahce) and Printezis (Olympiacos) compete in the EuroLeague, where the season runs from October through to May.
“I am proud for this Eurobasket and reaching the quarterfinals,” Datome said following his side’s loss to Serbia in the last eight. “For me, the national team is a pleasure, not a sacrifice. However next summer I intend to rest. After 17 straight years with the national team, I think I deserve it.”
It is unlikely that Datome will play in the qualifiers in November for Italy, who have lost coach Ettore Messina due to the new window that has caused a lot of controversy since opening during Eurobasket in 2015.
Greece veteran Printezis, who’s Eurobasket ended at the hands of Russia would like to compete for the national team for as long as he can. Players representing Greece are traditionally as loyal as they come but with the new schedule taking shape for November, the 32-year-old forward is unsure of where he stands.
“It would be my joy to be part of the national team for as long as I can,” Printezis said. Still, with the current EuroLeague schedule, which is very different compared to the NBA because we don’t get to rest for three or four months, I don’t know if I will have this chance again.
“I hope to be able to help the national team again. However, with this schedule, with 60 or 70 games every year and so many trips around Europe, with the Greek League finals ending at mid-June and the training camp of the national team starting in less than a month, I think it’s impossible to cope with the national team. And that applies to every player, not only to those over 30 years of age.”
Greece open their World Cup qualifying campaign away to Great Britain in Leicester on November 24 with Estonia and Israel also in their group. Italy will open their qualifying odyssey against Croatia on November 26 with Netherlands and Romania in their pool.