From Isabelle Rondeau, PA International, Paris
Under-20 national team coach Jacques Commeres is confident his players will travel to Russia for the European championships focused on the task in hand, after he announced his 12-man list for the tournament.
Forward Ian Mahinmi, drafted last week by NBA outfit San Antonio Spurs, has been included in the squad, but Johan Petro, drafted in the first round but by the Seattle Supersonics, has not been released by his club side for the competition, which takes place in Chekhov from July 8 to 17.
"We established that list considering our choices in terms of positions with five centers, three point guards and four wing players," said Commeres to PA International.
|Johan Petro (left) will not be in Moscow due to his NBA commitments|
"We are glad we managed to get Ian Mahinmi back.
"He was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs last week before coming back to France. He will be able to take part in the European championships with us.
"However Johan Petro was drafted with the Sonics who refused to let him go despite his will to be with us in Russia. There is nothing we can do about it."
The French side played their last two preparation matches at the weekend in Villeurbanne against Italy, losing out 68-65 in the first game on Saturday before bouncing back with a 75-32 win the following day.
"Against Italy we performed rather well in terms of defence, we managed to offer something coherent," added Commeres, who last week admitted he does not know how far his team can go in the competition.
"But we were put in trouble in the first game which we lost by only three points. The second one was better as we won by a large score.
"As a whole it's been difficult to develop a regular and efficient offence during this preparation.
"On top of that we played against teams who had very tough defences in all our matches. So it was difficult to set up a routine.
"The players were under great stress at the weekend as they did not know the list.
"Now that it's done we hope their individual confidence will be boosted because it's never easy to prepare well for a Euro championships when the final squad is announced that late."
France will start the battle on July 8 against Slovenia before taking on Russia and Croatia respectively on the following two days.
"We are about to face a very tough group which includes talented sides," said Commeres.
"Out of seven preparation matches we won three times (twice against Germany on June 17 and 18 and once over Italy at the weekend) but suffered four defeats including three during our tournament in Greece against Russia, Greece and the Czech Republic, and then another one to Italy at the weekend.
"The way my players reacted the next day certainly boosted their spirits but there is still a lot of work to do to improve our weaknesses.
"We will travel to Russia with a lot of humility, hoping to get past the first round.
"But it's hard to give an exact opinion on how things are going to be for us there."
Jonathan Aka (Pau-Orthez), Pape Philippe Amagou (Le Mans), Said Bendriss (Cholet Basket), Yannick Bokolo (Le Mans), Souarata Cisse (Pau-Orthez), Kevin Corre (Le Mans), Thomas Larrouquis (Denek Bat Urcuit), Ian Mahinmi (Le Havre), Sylvain Marco (Paris Basket Racing), Jean-Michel Mipoka (Cholet Basket), Pierre Parker (Loyola Ramblers), Etienne Plateau (JDA Dijon).