/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
Ilias Zouros hasn’t had the smoothest of starts as the new coach of Greece with veteran playmaker Dimitris Diamantidis deciding not to end his national team retirement and Loukas Mavrokefalidis also declaring his unavailability for the national team at the EuroBasket in Lithuania because of a “serious family problem.”
When the door shuts on some players, it opens for others.
Following the decision by Mavrokefalidis, Greece drafted forward Pat Calathes into the squad. Calathes is the older brother of point guard Nick Calathes, who played for the Greeks at EuroBasket 2009 and at last year’s FIBA World Championship in Turkey. This week, Zouros has added guard Vasileios Xanthopoulos to the group of players who will on Thursday leave for the mountain resort of Karpenissi to begin the preparations for Lithuania.
Greece have played at the last two Olympic Games and will be hoping to book a place in London 2012 but to do so, they will need to reach the EuroBasket Final. Otherwise, they can earn a spot at next summer’s big event via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the second straight time.
The sides that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth will be invited to the 12-team qualifying event, which will be staged next year. At the EuroBasket, the Greeks will play in Group C against Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR of Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro and one of the two sides that comes from the Additional Qualifying Round – Portugal, Hungary or Finland.