Madrid, June 20 (IANS) Euro champions Spain have announced their 12-member men’s basketball squad for the London Olympics, where they will attempt to better their silver winning performance four years ago in Beijing.
Coach Sergio Scariolo has not made many changes to the squad which was so successful in the European Championships in 2011, reports Xinhua.
Spain will again be favourites, along with the United States for a place in this year’s Olympic final.
Shooting guard Juan Carlos Navarro, who was the MVP in the European Championships, will form the backbone of the side along with Pau and Marc Gasol, Jose Manuel Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and Serge Ibaka, who all play in the North American, NBA.
The remainder of the squad is made up of Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Victor Sada, Fernando San Emiterio, Felipe Reyes and Victor Claver, while Valencia‘s Rafa Martinez is the 13th player in the squad to provide cover in case of injury.
The main absentee for Spain is Ricky Rubio, who is recovering from an operation on cruciate knee ligament, suffered while playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“One of the values more important in the team in recent years is that it has been more a team than a national side. We think that the players who won the European Championship in Lithuania and who have produced other important performances have experimented a progressive generational change, but they have had the capacity to strengthen the group with their sporting and human qualities,” said Scariolo.
Spain will play eight preparation matches, ending with a friendly against the United States in Barcelona, before starting their Olympic campaign against China July 29.
The other teams in Spain’s group are Britain, Australia, Brazil and a side as yet to be decided.