|05 July 2013|
|Manuchar Markoishvili is expected to lead the charge on offence for Georgia |
Star center Zaza Pachulia, who underwent Achilles tendon surgery in April, is the only big-name absence from the 20-strong preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013 that Georgia head coach Igor Kokoskov announced on Thursday.
The Serbian-born tactician however will still be able to count with a formidable frontcourt, as his squad includes the likes of Montepaschi Siena forward Viktor Sanikidze, who led the team in rebounds in last summer's EuroBasket Qualification Round, as well as center Giorgi Shermadini of Euroleague champions Olympiacos and forward/center Tornike Shengelia, who completed his rookie NBA season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Galatasaray sharp-shooter Manuchar Markoishvili, who was Georgia's second-leading scorer behind Pachulia in the Qualification Round, with 18 points per game, is also included in the squad and is expected to be the main offensive option at September's EuroBasket.
A number of promising young players such as Cajasol Sevilla power forward Beka Burjanadze, who was the third-leading tournament scorer at last year's U20 European Championship, have also received the call of coach Kokoskov and will try during preparations to earn a place on the plane to Slovenia.
Meanwhile American-born Ricky Hickman, of Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Luke Zeller, of the Phoenix Suns, have also been named on the squad and one of the two could play with Georgia at the EuroBasket as a naturalised player.
Georgia were drawn into First Round Group C at September's EuroBasket and will do battle with reigning champions Spain, hosts Slovenia, Poland, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Georgia preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013:
Giorgi Tsintsadze, Anatoly Boisa, Manuchar Markoishvili, Viktor Sanikidze, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Tornike Shengelia, Nikoloz Metreveli, Giorgi Shermadini, Otra Pkhakadze, Besik Lezhava, Duda Sanadze, Merab Bokolishvili, Revaz Rogava, Beqa Chikviladze, Levan Fatsasia, Beka Burjanadze, Richard Matiashvili, Giorgi Sharabidze, Ricky Hickman and Luke Zeller.