Sweden Reduce Squad To 13 Players

20 August 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

9. Ludvig Hakanson (Sweden)
17-year-old Ludvig Hakanson could well be the youngest player at this year's EuroBasket

Sweden head coach Bradley Dean has made a final decision on 11 of the spots in his team for EuroBasket 2013 and retains a further two players in the squad as options for the last available place on the plane to Slovenia.

Stars Jonas Jerebko and Jeffery Taylor, alongside Anton Gaddefors, Viktor Gaddefors, Kenny Grant, Ludvig Hakansson, Joakim Kjellbom, Brice Massamba, Thomas Massamba, Dino Pita and Erik Rush are the 11 players that have secured their place on the Swedish team.

Shooting guard Tobias Borg will travel with his teammates to Poland at the weekend, where Sweden will be participating in a four-nation friendly tournament, and upon their return either him or small forward Jonathan Skjöldebrand will be handed the last spot on the Slovenia-bound 12-men squad.

"Jonathan Skjöldebrand has an injury that needs rehabilitation, so he is staying at home [during the trip]," explained Dean.

"Tobias Borg will travel to Poland so we can evaluate his physical status.

"Then after the Poland tournament we will see how things are with Skjöldebrand," Sweden's coach added.

Alexander Lindqvist was the latest player to be cut from the Swedish squad, but he will remain on call as possible coverage in case an injury occurs.

"Lindqvist has been fantastic in training camp and the games we had, but we think he needs to acquire a little bit more physical strength," Dean said of the 22-year-old forward.

Jerebko and Taylor, upon which the Swedes lay a great part of their hopes for a successful EuroBasket campaign, were the latest players to report to training camp, after the completion of the NBA summer league.

"All players come in and give 100% and that's the first thing you want to see as a coach," Dean said.

"There is now an urgency to incorporate Jonas and Jeff into our game and what we want to do, but it has started well.

"Jonas knows me and several of his teammates, while Jeff has not been with us before, so for him it will probably take a workout or two [to get into the spirit of the team]."

The biggest sensation however on the Swedish team is not an NBA player, but Ludvig Hakanson.

At the age of 17, the point guard could very well be the youngest player to take to the court at EuroBasket 2013, pending confirmation of the rest of the official rosters.

Hakanson averaged 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in last month's U18 European Championship Division B, where Sweden finished in sixth place.

While that brilliant tournament was enough for Hakanson to attract attention from Dean, the youngster convinced the coaching staff that he could stand his ground at senior level thanks to some excellent displays in Sweden's first warm-up games in preparation for EuroBasket.

Sweden were drawn in First Round Group D at EuroBasket 2013, together with neighbours Finland, as well as Turkey, Russia, Italy and Greece.


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