|24 June 2010|
Portugal coach Moncho Lopez has several experienced hands in his preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2011 qualifying games against Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium and Georgia.
Mario Fernandes, Miguel Minhava, Joao Gomes, Joao Santos, Jorge Coelho, Miguel Miranda and Francisco Jordao all played at EuroBasket 2007 in Spain and are in the 15-man group named by Lopez.
A newcomer is Barreirense's 22-year-old guard, Petro Pinto.
"He's an emerging player in the national basketball league and one of the new faces in the seniors," Lopez said.
Recently naturalized Portuguese Heshimu Evans of Benfica, a former player at Kentucky, is included.
Lopez said: "The choice (of forwards) was a blend of youth and experience, and the best example is Michael Graca and Heshimu Evans, athletes who are newcomers despite the age difference (12 years), but that the group will bring a lot of motivation and commitment."
Veteran Elvis Evora, 32, is not in the squad due to injury and that is a big blow for Portugal.
"The most notable absentee is the Elvis, a player who, by his nature, is virtually irreplaceable," Lopez said.
"But this will be offset by a choice that gives us a very comprehensive range of options which allows for many solutions on the court."
Portugal squad: Mario Fernandes (CAB Madeira), Pedro Pinto (Barreirense), Miguel Minhava (SL Benfica), Miguel Graça (Barreirense), Carlos Andrade (FC Porto), Jaime Silva (VSC Guimaraes), Joao Gomes (Breogan), Joao Santos (SL Benfica), Heshimu Evans (SL Benfica), Jorge Coelho (FC Porto), Miguel Miranda (AD Ovarense), Nuno Cortez (AD Ovarense), David Gomes (FC Porto), Andre Pinto (AD Ovarense) and Francisco Jordao.