U20 MEN DIVISION B
|Daniel Friedrich and Austria put up a fight but could not avoid relegation in a strong Division A tournament in 2011|
Austria competed at the U20 European Championship last summer in Spain but in a tournament loaded with excellent teams, Werner Sallomon's team couldn't avoid relegation to Division B.
They finished 15th among the 16 teams in the Division A tournament in Bilbao.
The enthusiasm for basketball remains high in Vienna, though, where coach Sallomon has named his preliminary squad for this summer's U20 European Championship Division B in Sofia, Bulgaria, which runs from 12-22 July.
The players are Michael Diesner, Daniel Friedrich, Luka Gvozden, Maximilian Hopfgartner, Marko Kracun, Filip Kramer, Mathias Kutschera, Benjamin Mair, Albert Ngoy, Carlos Novas Mateo, Dominic Pechlaner, Lorenz Rattey, Claudio Vancura and Erwin Zulic.
Daniel Gaberle, Luca Springer, Markus Strohmayer and Fabio Thaler are on standby.
Austria will be missing a couple of key players, though, as Jozo Radoz is injured and Nizar Kapic, who is focusing on his college search in America.
"We have put together a good team," Sallomon said.
"Some players have already sniffed Bundesliga air.
"We need to review our goals and be realistic because otherwise, it would be a shame to be frustrated..."
The first phase of preparations were due to get underway on Wednesday (6-10 June) and a second round of workouts are scheduled to be held 14-17 June.
The team will leave Austria on 22 June to play in a warm-up tournament in Italy with the hosts, Ukraine and Hungary.
"I want to look at our players and see how they react to the international stage," Sallomon said. "Most have no experience ..."
Once the U20 European Championship Division B gets underway, Austria will take on the Slovak Republic, hosts Bulgaria and Israel in Group A.