Supporters of Team France are still holding their collective breath, as their national team yesterday officially announced that oui, Joakim Noah is still practicing with the team in preparation for EuroBasket, but non, no word had been given by Noah’s Bulls on whether the NBA team would allow Noah to play in the EuroBasket additional qualifying round.
Coach Vincent Collet and Team France are particularly keen on having Noah aboard for the qualifier against Italy, wherein Noah would be assigned Andrea Bargnani in hopes of stopping Italia’s chief threat.
Without Noah, Team France still looks fairly impressive; the current 14-man roster still boasts the likes of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf, Nicolas Batum and Alexis Ajinca. However, universally acknowledged is that Noah is absolutely the key to La Republique’s team advancing.
After group matches with Italy and Finland, the winner will face the survivor of Group A: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Portugal.
The Eurobasket additional qualifying round starts August 5th with France playing Italy in Sardinia.
(FIBA.com) — A France squad attempting to qualify for the EuroBasket to keep alive its hopes of reaching the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey is much stronger with Joakim Noah than without him.
That’s why the French Basketball Federation have revealed the Chicago Bulls center is still with the team and getting ready to play in friendly games in Strasbourg ahead of the additional qualifying round (AQR) for the EuroBasket.
France confirmed to FIBA.com that they are attempting to persuade the Bulls to let the 24-year-old play in the forthcoming games against Italy and Finland.
The Bulls gave their blessing for the son of former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah to participate in the preparations for the AQR earlier this year but made it clear they didn’t want their star to play when the French go for the last remaining spot on offer for the EuroBasket’s Final Round in Poland.
National team boss Vincent Collet reduced his squad to 14 following the team’s training camp in Vichy over the weekend and Noah remained in the group.
It’s easy to see why the French want the 2.11m Noah in their line-up.
He came into his own in the playoffs this year when the Bulls nearly upset the Boston Celtics in the first round, averaging better than 10 points and 13 rebounds per game. His combative presence would come in handy, especially against the Italians who have seven-footer Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors.
Aldo Curti and Ludovic Vaty were cut from the Team France squad after Vichy but remain on standby.
Collet must eventually cut his group to 12 players before France’s first AQR game at Italy on August 5.
The France squad currently consists of Alexis Ajinca, Nicolas Batum, Yannick Bokolo, Nando De Colo, Mamoutou Diarra, Boris Diaw, Joseph Gomis, Alain Koffi, Joakim Noah, Tony Parker, Johan Petro, Florent Pietrus, Ali Traore and Ronny Turiaf.