Juggernauts Lithuania and Greece, two of the teams that are poised to emerge as medal contenders at EuroBasket 2013, have trimmed down their respective preliminary rosters and inched closer to announcing their 12-man squad for Slovenia.
Both teams have opted to cut a perimeter player, and are now left with a 14-strong preliminary roster which is expected to be reduced down to its final number following the weekend warm-up games.
GECEVICIUS WILL NOT MAKE NATIONAL TEAM RETURN
|Martynas Gecevicius was cut from the Lithuania roster, leaving coach Kazlauskas with 14 players|
Lithuania head coach Jonas Kazlauskas decided to release shooting guard Martynas Gecevicius on Thursday morning, the day after his team edged out Finland 78-76 in their opener at the Vilnius friendly tournament.
The 25-year-old Gecevicius played 10 minutes in the game and contributed five points, but Kazlauskas seems to have a preference towards Adas Juskevicius at the '2' spot.
Juskevicius, who is now 24-year-old and has never played with the senior national team in a major tournament before, spent 17 minutes on the floor against Finland.
Gecevicius had made a promising debut with the senior national team at the 2010 World Championship in Turkey, where Lithuania conquered an unexpected bronze medal.
The guard had contributed 6.6 points and 1.4 rebounds-per-game in Turkey, but was not included in the team again for either EuroBasket 2011 on home soil or the London Olympics last summer.
Gecevicius spent the last two seasons at Euroleague champions Olympiacos but had limited playing time and will return to Lithuania to join Lietuvos Rytas in the new season.
Lithuania were drawn in First Round Group B at the EuroBasket, together with Montenegro, F.Y.R. Of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Latvia.
GREECE CUT GIANKOVITS
|Vlantimir Giankovits had to leave the Greek camp despite encouraging performances|
The announcement came just before the Hellenic team's departure for Germany, where they will participate in a warm-up tournament during the weekend.
Giankovits has never suited up for the senior national team, but has an enviable collection of medals at youth level, including gold at the U18 European Championship in 2008 and silver at the U19 World Championship the following year.
The young winger is an excellent long-range shooter, however he faced tough competition at his position from the likes of Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Vasileiadis, Stratos Perperoglou and Michael Bramos.
"The final choices are a question of team chemistry," Trinchieri explained.
"Vlado Giankovits could have been until the end on the team, he worked exceptionally well at training camp and helped us very much.
"He played at four different positons [to help the team], from the '1' to the '4' spot, according to circumstances.
Big man Vassilis Kavvadas, will not fly with the Greek team to Germany, although Trinchieri said that he will re-join the side in practices from Monday.
Kavvadas was called up in late July, initially as cover for the injured Sofoklis Schortsianitis at training camp.
'Big Sofo' never joined the Greek preparations, but Kavvadas stayed on as fellow center Yannis Bourousis fractured a rib and was sidelined for over two weeks.
Greece were drawn in First Round Group D, together with Italy, Turkey, Sweden, Finland and Russia.