|04 June 2013|
|Timofey Mozgov was Russia's second-best scorer at EuroBasket 2011, averaging 9.5 points per game|
New Russia head coach Fotis Katsikaris announced on Tuesday his 18-strong preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013 that, as expected, does not include Andrei Kirilenko, Victor Khryapa and Sasha Kaun.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, the Greek tactician admitted that working with a roster that does not include these three players will be a 'challenge' but he also added that he is 'used to working hard and fight.'
Katsikaris and Russian Federation president Alexander Krasnenkov pointed out instead that the upcoming EuroBasket will provide a chance to the country's younger players to step forward.
"Our main goal is to build a strong team," Katsikaris said, in a clear indication that his primary focus at this stage is the work that will be done with the players during preparations.
The new-look Russia will be led by Minnesota Timberwolves charismatic guard Alexey Shved, sharp-shooting Vitaly Fridzon and veteran Sergey Monya.
Meanwhile Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov, CSKA Moscow duo Anton Ponkrashov and Andrey Vorontsevich and the 19-year-old prodigy Sergey Karasev are the players poised to assume more playing time and more prominent roles than before on the team.
Youngsters Nikita Balashov and Dmitry Kulagin of EuroChallenge champions Krasnye Krylia are also included in the squad.
Oleg Meleschenko, a former coach of Khimki and Mikhail Solovyev, who was in charge of Russia's U18 and U19 national sides, will be the assistants of Katsikaris at September's EuroBasket.
Russia's training camp gets under way on 22 July and their first opponent in preparations will be Latvia, in two back-to-back warm-up games on 8 and 9 August in Riga.
Katsikaris' men will also face EuroBasket hosts Slovenia in Ljubljana on 18 August, midway through their friendly match-ups schedule, which consists of warm-up games against eight opponents and one three-nation tournament.
Russia will return to Moscow on 25 August to put the finishing touches to their preparations and will only play one last friendly game before departing for Slovenia, against Ukraine on 28 August.
Russia Preliminary Squad for EuroBasket 2013:
Alexey Shved, Timofey Mozgov, Vitaly Fridzon, Dmitry Khvostov, Sergey Monya, Aleksey Zhukanenko, Yegor Vyaltsev, Anton Ponkrashov, Evgeny Voronin, Andrey Vorontsevich, Dmitry Sokolov, Maxim Grygoryev, Sergey Bykov, Valery Lykhodei, Semen Antonov, Nikita Balashov, Dmitry Kulagin and Sergey Karasev