Finland’s Muurinen Reaches His Century

Kimmo Muurinen - Finland
The 2.02m power forward Kimmo Muurinen featured in all eight of Finland's games in last summer's Qualifying Round

Kimmo Muurinen will be the first to admit he is not one of the stars of Finland's national team.

But when he entered the court for Sunday's friendly contest with Sweden, the 30-year-old played his 100th game for his country - testament to the vital role he has made his own.

"I'm not one of the top players, so other guys will always take the majority of the minutes," he said.

"But I am someone who can bring from the bench high energy and go flat out in every situation."

Muurinen made his debut when he was 19, coming off the bench against Denmark.
"It was in Reykjavik," Muurinen recalled.

"The match was won and Aaron McCarthy was coaching, but otherwise I don't remember much. I was young, and just very excited."

Finland's national team has been remarkably settled both in terms of coaching and playing staff over recent seasons, and Muurinen has come to relish the family atmosphere of a close-knit group.

"Every summer, it is very smooth and we get more professional," he said.

"Our operating environment keeps improving and we can focus on winning games. It is fun to see how we have evolved in recent years as a team, and to see how individuals have developed in this environment."

However, Muurinen was missing last summer with a back problem, which only made him more hungry to get back to it this year.

"As I was healthy all season, I was able to start my national team workouts immediately after a holiday," he said.

"I believe I am now in better shape than ever before for this time of year."


26.07.2011 - EUROBASKET AQR

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