Sunday, August 19, 2007

FIBA Americas Preview - Part II (The Team)

The following are the profiles of the 12 players that have been selected for the Las Vegas trip, by Sergio HERNANDEZ: -

Player Profile

Name : Antonio PORTA
Position : Point Guard
Club : Spartak St. Petersburg (RUS)

Name : Roman Javier GONZALEZ
Position : Center
Club : Penarol (ARG)

Name : Leonardo GUTIERREZ
Position : Power Forward
Club : Boca Juniors (ARG)
Name : Luis SCOLA
Position : Power Forward/Center
Club : Houston Rockets (NBA)

Position : Center/Power Forward
Club : CB Granada (ESP)

Name : Paolo QUINTEROS
Position : Shooting Guard
Club : CAI Zaragoza (ESP)

Name : Carlos DELFINO
Position : Shooting Guard
Club : Toronto Raptors (NBA)

Name : Guillermo Federico KAMMERICHS
Position : Small Forward
Club : Polaris World Murcia (ESP)

Name : Diego LO GRIPPO
Position : Power Forward
Club : Autocid Ford Burgos (ESP)

Name : Pablo PRIGIONI
Position : Point Guard
Club : Tau Ceramica (ESP)

Name : Carlos Matias SANDES
Position : Shooting Guard/Power Forward
Club : Tau Ceramica (ESP)

Name : Martin LEIVA
Position : Forward/Center
Club : Autocid Ford Burgos (ESP)

For most critics, the vacant place left by our big names means there is huge hole that is need to be filled. Yes at some point but not really if you look at it from a different dimension. There are plenty of strong characters in this team that is good enough to take up the responsibility. The key figure behind this team, without a doubt will be Pablo PRIGIONI, Luis SCOLA and Carlos DELFINO.
For the point guard role, PRIGIONI is likely to be given the nod ahead of Antonio PORTA. Last season, he was regarded as one of the best for his position, both in the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB) and Euroleague as well.
His soon to be ex-club teammate Luis SCOLA, will most certainly be on top of HERNANDEZ list in the starting five. He could use in either as a power forward or in center position. SCOLA, who is bound for the NBA next season, was in the form of his life for Tau Ceramica last season. He was also rewarded as the Regular season MVP at the ACB.
Another important element in this team is that both PRIGIONI and SCOLA are pick and roll partners at club level, a formula which HERNENDEZ is most likely to tapped in as it has brought plenty of success for their club last season. A further point to be noted is that PRIGIONI has the second highest assist at last season Euroleague while SCOLA is now the all-time Euroleague point scorer.
Carlos DELFINO, the only NBA based player in the team (SCOLA will only join the Houston ROCKETS next season), presents could be crucial and HERNANDEZ may give him with the shooting guard role. Unlike most oh his compatriot who made the transition from Europe to NBA; he never enjoyed the amount a time play during the last three years in Detroit. Having just completed his move to the Toronto RAPTORS, he will be eager to reproduce the type of form he had during his pre-NBA days. Las Vegas will be the perfect platform for him to do so.
Another player with NBA connection is Federico KAMMERICHS who was drafted by the Portland TRAIL BLAZERS in 2002. After being out of picture during the last couple of years, his return couldn’t come at a much better time. With his ability to drive to the basket and around the rim plus with the added value to his excellent leaping and block shots, he is perfectly enough to fill in for Walter HERRMANN.
Leonardo GUTIERREZ is another important figure in the team as he was sensational in helping Boca Juniors to win the Liga Nacional de Básquetbol (LNB) championship, averaging 15.5 points per game and subsequantly was also voted as the MVP for the play-offs final. He is another best option for the power forward position.
Motivation is also another reason why I believe this team is capable of achieveing its objetive. DELFINO insists the team “ will have more energy and hunger for glory than the one that won the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens”.
SCOLA played down the effect the absences would have, vowing the team will secure one of the two automatic qualifications. The 27-year-old said: "Too much importance is being given to a theme which does not deserve it. The ones that didn't come have the right to rest and we are here because we want to be here. Argentina will go to Las Vegas with a competitive squad and our possibilities of qualification are intact."
In Part III, we’ll be briefly analyzing on all the other contesting teams that will take part in Las Vegas

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