The Italian coach Sergio Scariolo, Spanish basketball coach, explained after giving the list of summoned to the preparation of the Tokyo Olympics, in which it appears Pau Gasol After recovering from a two-year injury, they will have to make “smarter use” of their playing minutes.
“The use has to be quantitatively more intelligent to be able to ensure that during the entire course of the competition Pau does not run risks of overloading and can reach the last matches, which I hope we are,” Scariolo reflected in a telematic press conference after facilitating the list of 18 players who will prepare for the Olympic event.
The eldest of the Gasol brothers returns to the national team, with which his last championship was the Eurobasket 2017, after returning to competition two months ago with Barça, with whom he has been champion of the Endesa League, playing an average of 15 minutes of play per game, contributing 10.4 points and 5 rebounds on average.
Ricky Rubio, who had doubts about going to the Games, has decided to go after having felt “supported by all his teammates,” says Scariolo
“We have all seen his great effort to be able to contribute and be useful, not only obviously in the face of the national team but with his club, and being increasingly important. The type of job that his coach has done in the club with him it shows the way, it is not about having a player like years ago, not many, but we all remember Pau who in the decisive matches was on the field for 30 minutes marking differences, “explained Scariolo, who added that with the presence of pivots like his brother Marc Gasol Y Willy Hernangómez, they will be able to work “without taking risks”.
The list of 18 players who will concentrate next Friday, June 25 in Madrid includes bases Carlos Alocen, Sergio Rodríguez and Ricky Rubio; the bodyguards Álex Abrines, Darío Brizuela and Sergio Llull; forwards Alberto Abalde, Rudy Fernández, Xabi López-Aróstegui and Sergi Martínez; power forward Víctor Claver, Pierre Oriola, Juancho Hernangómez, Sebas Sáiz and Usman Garuba; and the centers Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Willy Hernangómez.
One of the players who publicly expressed their doubts was Ricky Rubio, about whom the coach revealed that he had to “think about it until the last moment” and that he has finally decided to go after feeling “supported by all his teammates.”
“For me it was a joy when he called me. It was very curious because they told me: ‘Am I in time to get on the list?’ That is a demonstration of humility and of what Ricky is like as a person. We had never fully closed our arms, but immediately we have opened them again with great enthusiasm, “said Scariolo.
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The Spanish-Montenegrin Niko Mirotic does not appear in the summons, for “serious and important personal reasons,” explained the coach, and the Spanish-Congolese Serge Ibaka, who recently had to undergo surgery for back problems. “The hypothetical availability and theoretical desire was in both, I have spoken with both, but the circumstances have been these,” added Sergio Scariolo.
In the citation of 18 players there are eight of those who were world champions in China 2019, the returns of Pau Gasol, Sergio Rodríguez (Armani Milan) and Álex Abrines (Barça), and the premiere in absolute calls of Usman Garuba (Real Madrid ) and Sergi Martínez (Barça).
Scariolo explained that the reason for making a long call is due both to caution due to the physical condition of the players and to the intention of seeing some who have not been able to count on the ‘FIBA windows’ for playing in competitive teams European like Euroleague or Eurocup, or because they play in other countries.
“It is a list with two very clear characteristics: the continuity of a historical group that is already beginning the last steps with the national team but with the capacity and physical, technical and mental condition to do so with solvency, and a fairly wide group of young players or very young. We wanted to take this step looking to the future, “said the Italian coach.
In this sense, when asked about the 19-year-old Madrid interior Usman Garuba, Scariolo highlighted his tactical fit with the rest of the interiors for his “agility, speed and ability to carry out defensive changes with solvency”, as well as his progression in 3-pointers, and did not close the door to ending up on the final list of twelve players.
“If the evolution as we all hope and believe of Usman is going to be towards the position of 4, it will be decisive and decisive to allow him to go up even another level. The inclusion of Usman for a few months was a thing done, and we hope I can fight with other players to gain a place in the twelve. The competition is high, it is interesting, because there are more players with options, “he said.
Scariolo will have to choose the payroll for Tokyo 2020 in the first week of July, although he explained that despite this they will continue to work with a broader group of players as a preventive measure against the difficulties generated by the pandemic.
The president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, highlighted the “commitment of these athletes to the national team”, and explained that all the players will arrive in Tokyo “with the complete vaccination schedule” against covid-19, on which he thanked “the efforts of the Government and the Spanish Olympic Committee “to manage the sportsmen vaccination campaign.
“The challenge for the Federation is to find the balance between the health protection of the athletes and the entire team and that they have the most pleasant and close coexistence. The effort of resources, tests, tests, will be tremendous. The easy thing would be to lock up to the team, and what we face is to combine the pleasant coexistence and the family, with what that word means, and that they are in the most protected sanitary conditions, “he added.
The Spanish team will play three friendly matches in Spain and two away, of which one could be in France and another will be on July 18 against the United States, in Las Vegas, from where it will travel to Japan. Spain’s Olympic debut will be on Monday July 26 against the host, Japan.