Russia have named their 12-man roster that will travel to the Slovenian town of Koper for Eurobasket. And controversially departed coach Fotis Katsikaris is joining them.
Current Russian head coach Vasiliy Karasev was spoiled for choice, selection-wise in the backcourt, but with Andrei Kirilenko retiring from international duty, Sasha Kaun, Viktor Khryapa and Timofey Mozgov all missing – the frontcourt options were limited.
Karasev is aware that the vast majority of his squad are inexperienced and that this will be their first Eurobasket but he has included international veterans Aleksey Shved, Vitaliy Fridzon and Sergey Monya.
We have a slightly difficult situation as there is a rejuvenation of the team, and many of its leaders will not play with us,” Karasev commented.
“There are some players on this team for whom this Eurobasket will be their first experience of a big tournament.
“We’ve had to modify our style of basketball, make it faster, and this team needs to get used to the new style.
“The last player I had to cut from the roster was Valerii Likhodei because we are well-covered at his position, but I am really grateful to him for all his hard work during preparations.”
Russia share the same group as Greece, who will have television group OTE TV broadcasting their games from Slovenia. The media broadcaster has invited former Russia coach Katsikaris to analyse Greece’s Eurobasket campaign, which could make for interesting viewing if you’re a Greek listener.
“It will be awkward, that is for sure,” one Russian journalist told TalkBasket under condition of anonymity.
“It was a very controversial dismissal and I think Fotis [Katsikaris] knew what he was doing by accepting this job with Greece television. Hopefully professionalism will prevail.”
Russia squad for Eurobasket: Aleksey Shved, Sergey Monya, Sergey Karasev, Evgeny Voronov, Vitaliy Fridzon, Dmitry Sokolov, Semen Antonov, Dmitry Khvostov, Evgeny Valiev, Anton Ponkrashov, Dmitry Kulagin and Alexey Savrasenko.