Preparations for Austria's national team are well underway before their Division B group encounters against Cyprus, Albania and Belarus in September.
At an average age of just 22, Austria has one of the youngest national teams participating in FIBA Europe competition this year.
The young side features the first ever Austrian player to make the Italian League. Benjamin Ortner graduated from Metropolitan State in Denver this year, and after an appearance at the Treviso summer league, earned a contract with Reggio Emilia for the upcoming season.
|Benjamin Ortner |
David Jandl is Austria's other player who will move to foreign shores in 2005 and he will play in Germany for Giessen.
Michael Schrittwieser's side have already participated in two warm-up tournaments in August. They finished third behind Finland and Belgium in Tampere, Finland and followed that up with wins over a US team, England and Denmark in another pre-Eurobasket event.
Despite the tough task confronting them, the Austrians are confident of sucess thanks to rising stars such as Ortner and Jandl and the addition of players with NCAA experience, Andreas Helmigk and Christian Kollik.
Schrittwieser has already targeted the game against Belarus as a must-win contest, if his side are to have any hope of progressing to Division A.
Austria vs. Belarus will take place on 10th September in Gomel, Belarus.