|Georgios Papagiannis had a succesful tournament in Turkey. Now he requires more playing time back in Greece|
The Greek U16 national team impressed at the recent international tournament of the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) in Sakarya, beating Serbia 53-44 in the final to cap off their undefeated run to the title.
As far as the coach that led the Hellenic team to this title is concerned, the main thing is that the success comes at a time when it can serve as an added argument for his understudies to get the chances they deserve.
"They could play more at their clubs," Manos Manouselis said in an interview on the website of the Greek basketball coaches' union (sepk.gr).
"One of the 'good' consequences of the financial crisis is that clubs have turned to young Greek players.
"It is a question of time until these kids get more playing time, especially the ones who are a year older.
"What we want of course is for them to play more.
"In [the TBF tournament in] Turkey they had the chance to get playing time in competitive games and of course, play together as a team.
"I can only hope that in the near future they will also play with their teams."
Manouselis has no doubts when it comes to the quality of this generation of Greek internationals, and as a coach who has worked with youth national teams for several years, he doesn't lose sight of their ultimate aim.
"The '96 and '97-born generations are full of both frontcourt and backcourt players," he said.
"This generation will give a better image compared to the one in the recent past.
"The most important thing for these kids is to keep on working and improving.
"A success at this age level is not so important in itself, the aim for all of us is for these kids to reach [at least until] the doorstep of the senior national team."
Ensuring their long-term development might be the main target when it comes to working with young players, but of course it is always nice to win games in the process.
"Earning first place [in the TBF tournament] is important because whenever you play you want to win, in order to help build a winning mentality.
"During those days we brought the team together and I believe we took a big step ahead of the U16 European Championship in the summer."
Greece are drawn in Group A at the U16 European Championship that takes place in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in August, along with Belgium, Russia and Spain.
There were ten European sides to compete in Sakarya, but none of them were Greece's Group A opponents. This experience of top competition in Turkey may now prove to be a valuable advantage for the Greeks, come August.
"We have a big need to play internationally and it's not easy to organise these games," Manouselis explained.
"In tournaments like this you can evaluate things and see what the level of the team is.
"[TBF's] is the best tournament and it's important that we were invited and the Greek Federation could send us.
"We hope to play in more international tournament prior to summer, so we get more chances to work and be in the best possible condition when the European Championship gets under way."