EuroLeague stars get Greece call-up despite availability concerns

EuroLeague stars get Greece call-up despite availability concerns

Several EuroLeague stars were included in the call-ups for Greece’s qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup next month despite concerns over their availability…

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Thanasis Skourtopoulos revealed his roster selections for Greece’s qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup next month, with a handful of players unlikely to be available to take part.

As part of a reformat to what was previously known as the FIBA World Championship, FIBA has installed a continental qualifying process for next summer’s tournament in China -- a campaign that has many of Greece’s top players uncertain about their role with the Ethniki.

Among the call-ups for Greece’s qualifiers against Estonia (23/2) and Great Britain (25/2), are nine players who ply their trade for a EuroLeague team -- including Panathinaikos’ Nikos Calathes and Olympiacos’ Georgios Printezis.

In regular circumstances, the duo would most likely start for the Ethniki in both of the qualifiers; however, the ongoing struggle between FIBA and the EuroLeague has put the nine EuroLeague stars at risk of not being able to represent their country.

Part of the conflict stems from the fact that EuroLeague fixtures will be held on the same day as the qualifying window, with both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos in action.

Instead, it is expected that the remainder of the call-ups, including Ioannis Bourousis, will carry the load for Greece.

Greece currently sit atop the Group H standings following wins over Great Britain (away) and Israel (home) in November’s slate of qualifiers.

Greece (Thanasis Skourtopoulos): Giannis Athinaiou (Aris), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Panathinaikos), Panagiotis Vassilopoulos (AEK), Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos), Charis Giannopoulos (Rethymno), Nikos Gikas (Promitheas), Nikos Calathes (Panathinaikos), Leonidas Kaselakis (Astana), Dimitris Katsivelis (PAOK), Antonis Koniaris (PAOK), Giannoulis Larentzakis (AEK), Michalis Lountzis (Trikala), Vangelis Mantzaris (Olympiacos), Dimitris Mavroeidis (AEK), Vangelis Margaritis (PAOK), Dinos Mitoglou (Panathinaikos), Ioannis Bourousis (Zhejian Lions), Lefteris Bochoridis (Aris), Kostas Papanikolaou (Olympiacos), Ioannis Papapetrou (Olympiacos), Georgios Printezis (Olympiacos), Dusan Sakota (AEK), Kostas Sloukas (Fenerbahce), Vassilis Charalambopoulos (PAOK).

by Peter Katsiris
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