MOSCOW, June 4 (R-Sport) – NBA players Timofey Mozgov and Alexey Shved have been named to Russia’s national basketball team for September's European basketball championships.
The Denver Nuggets center and Minnesota Timberwolves point guard join seven other returnees from the 2012 Olympics bronze medal-winning squad on an extended roster revealed Tuesday by head coach Fotis Katsikaris.
CSKA Moscow guards Anton Ponkrashov and Evgeny Voronov, BC Nizhny Novgorod forward Semyon Antonov, Sergei Monia, Dmitri Khovstov and Vitaly Fridzon of BC Khimki and BC Triumph Lyubertsy guard Sergey Karasev, a likely 2013 NBA Draft pick, were also named to the 18-man squad.
The biennial EuroBasket takes place in five Slovenian cities from September 4-22, two weeks before the start of NBA training camp. The top six teams qualify for the FIBA World Cup in 2014.
“To be selected for the World Cup, that’s our minimum task for EuroBasket,” Russian basketball federation president Alexander Krasnenkov said Tuesday. “It’s great if we win medals, but the result would be even more than we expect.”
Russia finished third at the EuroBasket 2011 but will head into the tournament without three starters from the 2012 Olympic team – most notably Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko, who announced his retirement from international competition earlier this year. Viktor Khryapa, a CSKA Moscow forward, told R-Sport earlier this week he would sit out the tournament because of fatigue.
CSKA center Alexander Kaun, who has missed time during the VTB United League playoffs with a knee injury, will skip EuroBasket for “personal reasons,” Katsikaris said.
Egor Vyaltsev, Sergei Bykov, Maxim Grigoriev, Dmitry Kulagin, Nikita Balashov, Andrey Vorontsevich, Valery Likhodei, Alex Zhukanenko and Dmitri Sokolov round out the roster.
Russia is in Group D with Finland, Greece, Italy, Sweden and Turkey at EuroBasket 2013. They play their first game on September 4 against Italy at Bonikifa Hall in Koper on the Mediterranean Sea.