With just under 60 days until the World Championships. Preparations and warm-up games are starting to take shape – as coaches come closer towards making their decisions about who to take to Turkey in late August.
Among the friendlies that were taking place, China beat Argentina in a two-game series in the Far-East. Bob Donewald’s Chinese thumped the number one ranked side 82-61 in Quingdao and 74-57 in Donging, as the South Americans struggled without their big names.
A third game between the two nations [meant to be the second game of the series] was cancelled due to bad weather.
China will be without their 7’6 superstar, Yao Ming, as he is recovering from a season long foot injury. He is expected though to return to Houston Rockets training camp this Summer.
China will be in Group C, which includes Puerto Rico, Ivory Coast, Russia, Greece and the hosts, Turkey.
Over to Canada, where point-guard, Jermaine Anderson has promised that he, along with the rest of the team will be hard-working and gritty. As they prepare for holders Spain, France, Lithuania, Lebanon and the ‘Tall Blacks’ of New Zealand.
“We don’t have any superstars, we just have a bunch of guys that work hard and we believe in the system that the coaching staff draws up for us and we go out there and try to execute it.” Anderson stated.
“I don’t think a lot of people expect us to do anything at this tournament but I think we’re going to shock a lot of people,”
It was Anderson who led his Canadian team to Turkey, shooting 5 from 8 from the three-point line, finishing with 21 points in a crucial 80-76 victory over the Dominican Republic.
One player who will be truly proud of putting on his National jersey will be Slovenia’s Jaka Lakovic. The Barcelona player – who recently won the Copa Del Rey, the Supercopa and the Euroleague crown will turn 32 next month, and has no plans, as of yet to slow down.
Slovenia head-coach, Memi Becirovic says: “As captain, I put Jaka Lakovic, who in the past years has been extremely loyal and present at all tournaments and has an exceptional competitive and human quality, so he deserves it,”
While Lakovic will be in Turkey, his team-mate at Barca, Erazem Lorbek will be deciding to rest this year, due to a long season in the ACB.
He is joined by his brother, Domen. Who is still trying to recover from long term knee problems.
“There are some who I would like to see in the team, unfortunately, it is primarily due to fatigue or injuries that they will not play this year,” Becirovic commented.
“Erazem Lorbek said that he needs some rest and is ready to participate next year, as well as Matjaz Smodis whose season was marked by the back injury and still does not feel able to appear. Domen Lorbek has some problems with the knees.”
John Hobbs for Talkbasket.net