Representatives from the Greek national side have arrived back from the United States confident that their NBA stars will play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain this summer.
Director of coaching Kostas Missas was among the representatives as they met with Memphis Grizzlies duo of Nick Calathes and Kostas Koufos (pictured) along with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokoumpo.
Calathes was last with the Greece side at the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela, while Koufos last put on a Greece vest at Eurobasket 2011 in Lithuania.
“There was a very good, positive contact and it turned into a substantive discussions with all three,” Missas said, talking to Gazzeta.gr.
“The good thing about Koufos and Calathes is that they are fighting in a team with many good players and have tough competition and every minute of participation … improves the players significantly.”
As for 19-year-old Antetokoumpo, it is unsure what his role might be on the Greek roster for the World Cup. Some say the Milwaukee Bucks player will suit up for the under-20 side but either way, he will feature for the national side this summer, barring injury.
“What is a given and is a certainty is that Giannis considers it an honour to wear the shirt with the (Greek) emblem this summer,” said Missas.
“Giannis is a youngster with amazing athletic skills who puts a lot of energy on the court and there is no doubt that the playing time he has gotten in the NBA has done a lot of good.
“He is a huge asset for Greek basketball and his desire to take part with the national team is admirable.
“However, we must not forget that with the national men, first you will need time to adapt to a totally different game than the free (open-court) basketball he’s accustomed to with Milwaukee.”
Greece have yet to announce who their coach will be at the World Cup.