With the World Championships in Turkey edging closer and closer, the big-name countries are naming their squads and preparing for upcoming exhibition games. But, with just over a month until tip-off. The foremost performers are dropping out like flies.
Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki and USA’s Amar’e Stoudemire join fellow big-name players such as China’s Yao Ming, USA’s LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Argentina’s Manu Ginobili on the sidelines, as they pull out of this summer’s tournament.
Stoudemire, who recently completed a mega-bucks deal to the New York Knicks, has been told to remain in New York by Knicks management – and will not travel to Turkey.
“I’d love to play as it’s a great honour to be back in the mist of USA Basketball, but as of right now, from a New York Knicks standpoint, they want to make sure I’m totally healthy for next season and so they made a decision to now allow me to play,” Stoudemire said at the USA‘s training camp in Las Vegas.
Another USA squad member who won’t be playing in Turkey in August is Golden State Warrior, David Lee. Who injured his fingers, whilst in training.
“It’s a great opportunity to play USA Basketball, but I understand both sides. I definitely understand the Knicks’ concern, they want to make sure I’m totally healthy and I’m looking forward to having a big year with the Knicks.”
Germany, a wild-card entrant to the World Championships, will be without their star player, Dallas Maverick shooter, Dirk Nowitzki for the second straight year, after the seven-footer agreed to prepare for next season with the Mavericks instead. But Dirk has agreed to play for Germany in the 2011 EuroBasket campaign.
I watched the young German team (at the EuroBasket) in Poland and I think that they are very talented”, Nowitzki said.
“I also got to meet the team in Hamburg at the under-17 World Championships and I am absolutely certain that they will play a great world championship representing Germany well. Next year, I will help the team reach our big goal to participate at the Olympics again.
“I have signed a new contract with the Dallas Mavericks. We have a new team with new conditions and I want to set my focus on the next NBA season this summer.”
Current World Champions Spain has announced their 15-man preliminary squad in Madrid. Eventhough there will be no Pau Gasol; there are still big-name players in the line-up. Including, Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro, who will captain the Spanish in Pau’s absence.
At a special celebration in Madrid, the president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jose Luis Saez, backed the players to succeed in Turkey.
“We have no fear,” he said. “We respect all our opponents. The challenge is double. But in this team we have passion, enthusiasm and commitment. I have full confidence in the commitment of these players with this team, to further increase what may be a historical track record. We believe in Spain!”
The Spain squad consists of: Carlos Suarez, Fernando San Emeterio, Rafa Martinez, Pablo Aguilar, Fran Vazquez, Sergio Llull, Víctor Claver, Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, Alex Mumbru, Rudy Fernandez, Jose Manuel Calderon, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa, Juan Carlos Navarro.
Finally, Serbia have dashed the hopes of Zoran Erceg, Mladen Jeremic and Luka Bogdanovic of playing at the FIBA World Championship by releasing each from the national team squad
The setback will be another disappointment for Jeremic, who was one of Serbia’s gold-medal winning players at the U19 World Championships three years ago.
Erceg didn’t make the squad for EuroBasket 2009 following a season of virtually no playing time and has again been left off.
DKV Joventut forward Bogdanovic withdrew from last year’s squad due to illness and now also won’t play in Turkey.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net