|Janis Timma has been dealt a massive blow, with sickness ruling him out of making his senior national team debut in a major tournament|
Small forward Janis Timma fell ill just days before Latvia's departure for Slovenia and will have to miss out on EuroBasket 2013, which would have been his first major tournament with the senior national team.
The 21-year-old, who was selected in this summer's NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th overall pick, contracted a virus and came down with a fever.
Timma will have to take antibiotics for at least another week and had to be ruled out of the team on Saturday evening, when head coach Ainars Bagatskis announced his final 12-man roster fo EuroBasket.
The squad that will represent the Baltic nation in Slovenia consists of Martins Meiers, Andrejs Selakovs, Kaspars Berzins, Rolands Freimanis, Mareks Mejeris, Janis Strelnieks, Dairis Bertans, Armands Skele, Janis Blums, Kristaps Janicenoks, Janis Berzins and Rihards Kuksiks.
The setback that Latvia suffered with Timma is however, to a great extent, the reason why young versatile forward Janis Berzins is presented with the biggest opportunity in his career so far.
Berzins received the call-up to the senior national team only in early August, after the start of training camp and after impressing with his performances at the U20 European Championship in July, where he led Latvia to the gold medal game and was included in the All-Tournament Team.
Skele in particular, who turns 30 on the opening day of action in Slovenia, will achieve this milestone against all odds and thanks mainly to his exemplary determination.
The guard, who was sidelined up until last December, had to overcome a double bout of meningitis in the last three years alone to be able to return to play basketball again and return to the national team.
Latvia will play the First Round in Group B, together with Lithuania, Serbia, Montenegro, F.Y.R. Of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.