Basketball

EuroLeague, EuroCup stars ready for pre-Olympic tourneys! – News

The FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments start this week to complete the 12-team lineup that will fight for the medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics – played in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-three teams in four groups will fight for the four remaining berths from June 21 through July 4. Only the pre-Olympic tournament champions join eight already qualified teams at the 20th Olympic Basketball Tournament. USA, Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Spain, France, Australia and Iran have already earned their right to play at the Olympics. The four pre-Olympic tournaments will be held in Victoria, Canada; Split, Croatia; Kaunas, Lithuania; and Belgrade, Serbia. Each tournament features six teams divided into two groups of three. The best two teams in each group qualify for the semifinals played in a final four format and the winner will keep its Olympic dream alive.

Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria hosts one of the tournaments. Canada is the tournament’s host and it will also feature Greece, Turkey, the Czech Republic, China, and Uruguay. Canada is led by Andrew Wiggins and RJ Barrett. Greece, coached by former Panathinaikos OPAP Athens boss Rick Pitino, features former All-EuroLeague selections Nick Calathes and Kostas Sloukas plus recent AX Armani Exchange Milan signing Dinos Mitoglou and Panathinaikos center Georgios Papagiannis. As in recent years, the Czech Republic will be led by former EuroLeague MVP Jan Vesely and Tomas Satoransky. Turkey features reigning EuroLeague champions Sertac Sanli and Bugrahan Tuncer of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, as well as Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul captain Melih Mahmutoglu. Jayson Granger and EuroLeague veteran Esteban Batista are among Uruguay’s best-known players and Zhou Peng and Zhao Jiwei lead China.

Mario Hezonja - Panathinaikos OPAP Athens - EB20_bf6cssof8uvti8cl

The tournament in Split at Spaladium Arena features Croatia, Russia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and Tunisia. Croatia will lean on the likes of Mario Hezonja of Panathinaikos and Ante Zizic of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. Russia has well-known names in European basketball, such as former EuroLeague champs Andrey Vorontsevich, Ivan Ukhov, Semen Antonov, Mikhail Kulagin and Anon Astapkovich. Brazil features former EuroLeague winner Anderson Varejao and playmaker Marcelinho Huertas as two of its pillars. Niels Giffey of Zalgiris Kaunas, Maodo Lo of ALBA Berlin, Danilo Barthel of Fenerbahce, Johannes Voigtmann of CSKA, among other EuroLeague stars, are on the German national team. Mexico will be led by former All-EuroLeague big man Gustavo Ayon and Tunisia features his former Real Madrid teammate Salah Mejri.

Milos Teodosic - Virtus Segafredo Bologna (photo Giulia Pesino - Virtus) - EC20

Not far away, Belgrade will have its pre-Olympic tournament at the famed Aleksandar Nikolic Hall. Serbia hosts Italy, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines, while Senegal was a last-minute scratch due to team’s COVID-19 situation. Serbia is led by EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic and former EuroLeague winners and two-time 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP Milos Teodosic as its main options at point guard. Nikola Kalinic of Valencia Basket and former EuroLeague MVP Nemanja Bjelica are some of the big names in the Serbian squad. Achille Polonara of TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and former All-EuroLeague big man Nicolo Melli play key roles for Italy. The Philippines replaced New Zealand, which was forced to withdraw from the tournament.

Marius Grigonis - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB20_bbvo37ddxysskx9w

Zalgirio Arena will be the home to the pre-Olympic tournament in Lithuania. The host nation will be joined by Venezuela, South Korea, Poland, Angola and Slovenia. Lithuania looks for its eighth consecutive Olympic tournament appearance and brings in its best squad, led by Mindaugas Kuzminskas of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, Mantas Kalnietis, Lukas Lekavicius and Rokas Jokubaitis of Zalgiris Kaunas, Marius Grigonis of CSKA, Rokas Giedraitis of Baskonia, Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas. Former EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic leads Slovenia alongside Mike Tobey and Klemen Prepelic of Valencia, Zoran Dragic of Baskonia and Jaka Blazic of Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana, among other EuroLeague and EuroCup stars. Poland relies on EuroCup Rising Star Aleksander Balcerowski and AJ Slaughter of Gran Canaria to lead the team, along with Mateusz Ponitka of Zenit. Venezuela competed at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and looks to get back to the tournament. South Korea had its last Olympic appearance in 1996 and Angola looks to return to the big event for the first time since 2008.

Serbia

Coach Igor Kokoskov, Fenerbhce Beko Istanbul

Danilo Andjusic, JL Bourg en Bresse

Dejan Davidovac, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

Ognjen Dobric, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

Nikola Kalinic, Valencia Basket

Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul

Milos Teodosic, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Italy

Awudu Abass, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Simone Fontecchio, ALBA Berlin

Riccardo Moraschini, AX Armani Exchange Milan

Alessandro Pajola, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Achille Polonara, TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Giampaolo Ricci, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Amedeo Tessitori, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Stefano Tonut, Umana Reyer Venice

Michele Vitali, Umana Reyer Venice

Puerto Rico

Gary Browne, Dolomiti Energia Trento

Greece

Nick Calathes, FC Barcelona

Charis Giannopoulos, Promitheas Patras

Leonidas Kaselakis, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens

Giannoulis Larentzakis, Olympiacos Piraeus

Dinos Mitoglou, AX Armani Exchange Milan

Georgios Papagiannis, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens

Kostas Sloukas, Olympiacos Piraeus

Turkey

Metecan Birsen, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Melih Mahmutoglu, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Sertas Sanli, Anadolu Efes Istanbul

Bugrahan Tuncer, Anadolu Efes Istanbul

Czech Republic

Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Uruguay

Jayson Granger, ALBA Berlin

Croatia

Mario Hezonja, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens

Ante Zizic, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

Germany

Danilo Barthel, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Niels Giffey, Zalgiris Kaunas

Maodo Lo, ALBA Berlin

Johannes Thiemann, ALBA Berlin

Johannes Voigtmann, CSKA Moscow

Russia

Semen Antonov, CKS Moscow

Grigory Motovilov, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar

Ivan Ukhov, CSKA Moscow

Lithuania

Tomas Dimsa, Herbalife Gran Canaria

Rokas Giedraitis, TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Marius Grigonis, CSKA Moscow

Rokas Jokubaitis, Zalgiris Kaunas

Mantas Kalnietis, Zalgiris Kaunas

Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar

Lukas Lekavicius, Zalgiris Kaunas

Gytis Masiulis, Lietkabelis Panevezys

Poland

Aleksander Balcerowski, Herbalife Gran Canaria

Mateusz Ponitka, Zenit St Petersburg

A.J. Slaughter, Herbalife Gran Canaria

Slovenia

Jaka Blazic, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

Ziga Dimec, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

Zoran Dragic, TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Edo Muric, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

Klemen Prepelic, Valencia Basket

Luka Rupnik, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana

Mike Tobey, Valencia Basket

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