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Bagatskis: "I had a feeling we would be drawn into same group as Macedonia and Lithuania for EuroBasket 2013"

Ainars Bagatskis. Photo: Edijs Palens/LETA.
 POSTOJNA (Slovenia), Nov 20 (LETA) - After Sunday's group draw for the 2013 European Men's Basketball Championships (EuroBasket 2013), the head coach of the Latvian national men's basketball team Ainars Bagatskis said that he had a feeling before the draw that Latvia would end up in the same group as Macedonia and Lithuania.
As reported, the Latvian national men's basketball team will play in Group B of the EuroBasket 2013 finals together with Macedonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
''I had a feeling before the draw we would end up in the same group as Macedonia and Lithuania,'' Bagatskis told the Latvian Basketball Association's web-site ''basket.lv''. ''I was not very happy to see Serbia drawn into our group,'' the coach added.
Bagatskis admitted that each team in Group B has its different style of play.
''Serbia, of course, has the biggest player resources in our group, however, this team has been playing very inconsistently the past several years. Montenegro has two very different teams - one with star center Nikola Pekovic, and the other without him,'' the Latvian coach said. ''We got acquainted with the Bosnian team during the qualification campaign, and I do not see many other players it could add to strengthen the team. Maybe just one or two guards. Macedonia played very well during EuroBasket 2011, but I believe their two best players - Pero Antic and Bo Mccaleb, will not play next year. They will most likely naturalize another player. I think Macedonia was the best option out of the first pot in the draw,'' Bagatskis added.
''We know the Lithuanian players and coaches very well, and we will be very motivated for this game. I believe Lithuania is the group's favorite, but we must wait to see what their roster will be like,'' the coach said.
Bagatskis also added that he is still drawing up the preparation process for EuroBasket 2013.
''Everything is still uncertain. We are assessing the possibility of having one preparation stage somewhere in the mountains. Now we will begin to organize some exhibition games. We previously wanted to play and exhibition game against Lithuania, but we must now rethink this,'' Bagatskis said.
He also added that the roster of the Latvian team is also not clear at the moment.
''Latvia must be represented by the best players who wish to do so, and who do not view the national team as a business project. The core of the team will be made up of those players who helped us qualify. But we do intend to evaluate possibilities of adding some other players to strengthen our positions. However, it is too early to mention names at the moment. There will be more clarity on this at the end of the club season,'' the coach said.
LETA also reported, the other groups for Eurobasket 2013 were also drawn on Sunday.
Group A will be made up of France, Great Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Belgium and Israel.
Group C will consist of Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Georgia and the Czech Republic.
Group D will be made up of Russia, Greece, Italy, Finland, Turkey and Sweden.
The finals of EuroBasket 2013 will be played September 4 to September 22 in Slovenia.
leta.lv
20-11-2012
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