Casspi Impressed By Austria

31 July 2012

9. Omri Casspi (Israel)
Omri Casspi had 18 points in his first game for Israel this summer.

Fans shouldn't be dismissive of Austria, despite their heavy defeat to Israel at the weekend.

The two sides are preparing for the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round and the Alpine nation that's trying to reach next year's Final Round in Slovenia, had a great start against the Israelis but fell, 95-70.

Omri Casspi, who played in his first game with Israel this summer against the Austrians in Oberwart and had 18 points, was impressed with the opponents who led 27-12 after nine minutes.

"Austria is a young, talented team and had a great start against us," Casspi said.

"We fell asleep early on but we got better."

Casspi says no one should be concerned with Israel, despite their slow start in that game.

"It was the first game for me with the team this year," he said.

"We just needed a little bit of time to find our rhythm.

"(But) I was impressed by several Austrian players, center Rasid Mahalbasic and (Sebastian) Koch."

Mahalbasic was Austria's star performer when they won promotion in the U20 European Championship in 2010. That Austrian team captured the Division B title.

Austria's forward Benjamin Ortner, meanwhile, has decided not to play in the Qualification Round.

The 2.06m forward announced to the federation his decision based on the fact that he is still searching for a team to play for.

Austria coach Nedeljko Asceric had hoped to have Ortner, who played for Benetton Treviso last season.

Ortner did not feature for Austria in the international tournament in Oberwart.

Karl Thaller, President of the Austrian Basketball Federation (ÖBV), said: "We are all naturally disappointed, but despite Ortner's refusal, I am confident the team will do well in the EuroBasket Qualification Round."

Austria will face Croatia, Ukraine, Cyprus and Hungary in Group C.


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