More Big Men Woes For France, Serbia

09 July 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

14. Ronny Turiaf (France) and the mascot Mieszko
Lipko will not be enjoying the same love that Ronny Turiaf had for Mieszko

France center Ronny Turiaf has changed his mind and decided to not play at EuroBasket 2013, while Serbia forward/center Milan Macvan was absent from the national team's first gathering on Monday.

France head coach Vincent Collet knew already that his frontcourt at the EuroBasket would be thin on the ground, but his troubles magnified when Ronny Turiaf also announced he would not suit up for Les Bleus in September's big event in Slovenia.

"I informed the Federation that I will not be part of the French team this summer," Turiaf said in an interview with L'Equipe on Tuesday.

"It's been 10 days since I've made my decision.

"Right now, I am without a contract (Turiaf is an NBA free agent after playing last season with the Los Angeles Clippers) and personal reasons come into play.

"I need to refocus my goals, take full control of my career and take care of my body and myself this summer."

Turiaf was one of the few centers included in Collet's preliminary squad for the EuroBasket, that was announced in late June.

His presence in the team was considered vital, since big men Joakim Noah, Kevin Séraphin, Ian Mahinmi and Ali Traoré had all announced previously they would be unable to play at the EuroBasket, while Ludovic Vaty, a center who was eager to make his senior national team debut this summer, has had to bring his basketball career to a premature end because of health reasons.

The only pure center left at Collet's disposal right now is Alexis Ajinça, with Kim Tillie and Joffrey Lauvergne, who are essentially power forwards, also expected to switch to the '5' spot to cover the team's needs.

The recently-drafted Rudy Gobert, who had been initially included on the French preliminary squad as a reserve and is currently playing in the NBA summer league, will probably be called upon to join training camp in August.

France were drawn in First Round Group A at EuroBasket, together with Germany, Ukraine, Israel, Great Britain and Belgium.

 

MACVAN A NO-SHOW AT SERBIA'S FIRST GET TOGETHER

15. Milan Macvan (Serbia), 8. Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Milan Macvan was a no-show at Monday's Serbian national team roll-call

Meanwhile Serbia, who were left with very few options at the power forward position after it was announced that Dusko Savanovic, Zoran Erceg and Novica Velickovic would not compete at the EuroBasket, might have to deal with a further absence in their frontline.

Milan Macvan, who can play both at the '4' and '5' spot, was a no-show at the national team's first gathering in a Belgrade hotel on Monday evening.

"I have no information on why he did not come," Serbia head coach Dusan Ivkovic said.

"Despite all our efforts we could not get in touch with him.

"When we talk openly, this is what we expect; in our last conversation he told me that he is not satisfied with his club performances [at Galatasaray] and he would like to work on it and improve.

"I told him I did not agree with him and explained that by playing in the national team he can improve in all aspects of his game."

When asked by reporters however, Ivkovic stopped short of excluding the possibility of Macvan not joining preparations at a later stage.

Star point guard Milos Teodosic, who is still recovering from a left calf injury he sustained in late May, attended the first roll call but, as expected, did not take part in Tuesday's morning practice.

Winger Vladimir Micov, who is Teodosic's team-mate at CSKA Moscow, also did not participate as he is reportedly suffering from injury and his health status will be assessed in the coming days.

Serbia will go up against Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Lithuania and Latvia in First Round Group B at the EuroBasket.


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