Pietrus – ‘It Takes More Than Talent For France To Win’

15 April 2010

If France are going to build on last year's successful EuroBasket in Poland and make waves at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey, Florent Pietrus will once again have to come up big.

The 29-year-old Pietrus, one of Les Bleus' standout performers over the years, seems to always raise his game when he puts on the French shirt.

It's why the power forward averaged more than 25 minutes per game last summer for national team coach Vincent Collet.

He is forever crashing the boards for rebounds or diving on the floor for loose balls.

France didn't win a medal, but Pietrus knows their successful Additional Qualifying Round campaign for EuroBasket 2009 and their 8-1 record in Poland did not go unnoticed by the sides they will face this summer.

They will go up against Spain, Lithuania, Canada, New Zealand and Lebanon in Group D.

"Most of the teams are going to be waiting for us," he said to FIBA Europe.

"We have to respond.

"We have a team with great players, but in the end, we have to compete together."

The tournament in Turkey will last from August 28 to September 12.

The United States will have a roster full of NBA players and Argentina, who hold the top spot in the FIBA World Rankings, will be formidable.

None of the other European teams taking part - Spain, Serbia, Greece, Slovenia, hosts Turkey and Lithuania - can be taken lightly.

"We know that the public believe Spain and the USA will be favorites, but we're going to try and do things our way, play our basketball," Pietrus said.

"You never know.

"Maybe we're going to have a great Championship."

Preparing For Lithuania

Turkey is important for another reason.

France are determined to be ready when EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania comes around.

Their performance in that competition will determine whether or not they make it to London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

One of French basketball's great moments came in 2000 when they reached the title game and took on the United States.

They have missed the two Olympics that followed.

"The most important thing is for next year (2011) because this will be the European qualification for the Olympics," Pietrus said.

"This summer is going to be like practice for us, but we're going to be going for it (wins) in every game."

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