The Olympic Games 2008 are history but the next basketball events for the national teams are just around the corner: Eurobasket 2009, World Championships 2010 and of course London 2012. BallinEurope.com takes a look at the current situation of Europe’s Olympic participants and gives an outlook into their future. To start, we are analyzing the situation in Greece.
Coach Giannakis’ team finished the tournament in the quarterfinals and landed an official fifth-place vision in Beijing. The defeat against Argentina was short and a semifinal with an possible Olympic medal was just one Spanoulis three-pointer away. So what does the future look like for the Blues?
When you check the roster, you see that the squad is stacked with a nice number of players for the future. You may think that the Greek team is old, but the roster only features one player that is over 30 years old: Theodoros Papaloukas. The coaches have managed to integrate players who will be in their prime in London 2012. The ’84-’85 generation (Vassilopoulos, Vasileiadis, Perperoglou, Schortsanitis, Printezis) has gotten interesting results on the youth level (EC U18 bronze medal in 2002; EC U20 4th place in 2004) and is ready to take over leadership of the team right now. Unfortunately, the case of Big Sofo is still unsolved, and he seems to be at a decisive point as to the future of his national team ambitions.
The problem is that there is some kind of gap between these guys and the next successful generation, which is composed of players born in 1989-90: Kosta Koufos, Nikkos Pappas and Kostas Sloukas are at the head of a group that we could see with the seniors within the next few years. While the big Ohio State alumnus will play his first games in the NBA in the upcoming season, the two guards are maybe not as close to entering the senior roster at present, but the possibility of a London 2012 backcourt composed of Pappas and Sloukas (both will be 22 then) together with Spanoulis (30) and Zisis (29) is there. Also, nobody knows as yet about the future of Theo Papaloukas, who would (only) be 35 in London, on the national team.
In the front court, the addition of Koufos is possible as soon as Eurobasket 2009. The advantage is that most of the key players inside still have a few years left, and London 2012 is definitely a goal for them. I speak, of course, of Antonis Fotsis, born in 1981 and who will remain a key contributor in coming years. He could see some support from the highly talented Vladimir Jankovic, who unfortunately missed his U18 tournament this summer after getting injured during the group phase.
And finally, there is Dimitris Diamantidis. The all-around guard of Panathinaikos was born in 1980 and, being only a late bloomer, the chances for him to be the key guy in 2012 are huge. If you add all this up, the possible roster for the Greek national team during the London Olympics would be the following.
Guards: Diamantidis, Spanoulis, Zisis, Sloukas, Papaloukas, Perperoglou;
Forwards: Vassilopoulos, Printezis, Fotsis, Jankovic;
Centers: Koufos, Bouroussis.