|04 July 2014|
EUROBASKET 2015 QR
|Pavel Pumprla is expected to join the Czech Republic national team with a slight delay this summer|
The next couple of weeks will determine how much resemblance the Czech Republic's roster this summer will have with the Czech team that took to the floor at EuroBasket 2013, last September.
There can be little doubt that newly-installed head coach Ronen Ginzburg would like to transport into the EuroBasket 2105 2nd Qualifying Round the entire squad that turned heads with their fast-paced game and fighting spirit in Slovenia.
To that effect, the Israeli tactician called on all players who competed at EuroBasket 2013 under the guidance of his predecessor Pavel Budinsky, including even 34-year-old veterans Lubos Barton and Jiri Welsch, to report to training camp this week.
However Tomas Satoransky, Jan Vesely, Pavel Pumprla, David Jelinek, Pavel Houska and Petr Benda, exactly half of Czech Republic's EuroBasket 2013 roster, were the notable absences on the opening day of preparations.
Not every case is the same and Ginzburg cannot be confident at this stage that all six players will participate in this summer's EuroBasket qualifying campaign.
The least worrying issue is that of Satoransky, as the point guard has committed to the national team and his involvement is beyond doubt.
The only reason for the young star's absence from the first days of training camp is that, as it has widely been reported in the media, he is in the process of finalising a new deal with a big club after his contract with Spanish side Cajasol Sevilla ran out on 30 June.
Similarly to Satoransky, Pumprla's collaboration with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro has terminated and the winger needed some extra time to explore his professional options and sign a new contract.
Satoransky and Pumprla should join their Czech team-mates in the next days and, in any case, by mid-July.
Vesely is also a free-agent since his contract with the Denver Nuggets expired at the end of June and he has to stay in the USA until he secures his future.
For the time being, the Czechs can only hope that the versatile young forward will either re-sign with Denver or agree terms with another NBA club soon.
"We keep in contact with Honza [Vesely], his priority is to keep playing in the NBA and he is now waiting for a deal to happen," said national team manager Michael Šob.
"When he gets it, he will join the national team," Šob added confidently.
Benda is nursing an injury and while the veteran center battled through physical problems and recovered in record time last summer, in order to play at the EuroBasket, he recently turned 32 and rehabilitation times can only be prolonged with age.
Houska has asked to be excused due to family reasons but no further details have been made public and his participation is also highly uncertain at this point.
Perhaps the most frustrating case for coach Ginzburg though is that of Jelinek, as there have been no updates on the situation and it seems unlikely the player will suit up for the national team this summer.
"David informed the coach, through an SMS message, that he has hurt his back and his doctor recommended to abstain from sporting activities during July and August," Šob explained.
"The CBF (Czech Federation) officially offered him all medical assistance so that he can recover as quickly as possible, but David at the moment is not communicating with us and we don't even know if he accepts that or not."
An outcome of these absences is that six players of the second Czech national team have been invited by Ginzburg to join the senior team's training camp, at least during a few weeks.
Jakub Šiřina, Adam Číž, Tomáš Pomikálek, Jaromír Bohačík, Patrik Auda, Kamil Švrdlík and Aleš Chán have all jumped at the opportunity to impress the new coach and possibly earn a place in the squad that will compete in the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round.
"This situation has been forced on us in way, since we have problems with some players and injuries," the Israeli coach commented.
"I expect to know more about the team's final composition in the next couple of weeks."
Another new face in the Czech training camp is 31-year-old winger Corey Muirhead.
The CBF hope the Jamaican-born BK Pardubice player will be able to complete his naturalisation process and compete with the national team this summer.
Muirhead has lived in the country for the past five years and applied for Czech citizenship earlier this year.
The Czech Republic were drawn in Group E of the 2nd Qualifying Round, together with Georgia, Portugal and Hungary.