While Israel will be taking on Finland to kick off the Eurobasket group stage in Prague, there will be two other games at the O2 Arena as the host Czech Republic welcomes Poland and powerhouse Serbia plays Holland in the nightcap.
One of the big storylines entering the competition will be the availability of Czech and Barcelona star Tomas Satoransky. While he took part in the final practice and seemed to be in good spirits, it will still be a game day decision should he play in the game against Poland.
Let’s take a quick look at what the Czech Republic and Poland coaches, captains and others had to say ahead of their opening games on Friday.
Israeli head coach of Czech Republic Ronen Ginzburg:
“We are all really excited to host this event and we had some great results on the past few years, we trust ourself and trust our chemistry. It’s a great chance for the Czech fans and a chance to take Czech basketball to the next level.”
About Tomas Satoransky’s availability:
“I don’t care if he plays one minute or not at all, you have to know the effort to play and it’s amazing, a lot of players would say thank you, quit and go to their team, we are blessed with him if he plays or not, young fans will know how dedicated he is to the national team. If he won’t play tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, the players have had time to adjust to play without Tomas.”
Captain Tomas Satoransky:
“We are looking forward to this tournament silence we knew that we would host it. We are always trying to lift up our basketball. It means a lot for me as I have not played a lot in front of the fans. We had some injuries and it’s time to show what type of team we are.”
“I’ve been recovering all day every day since the ankle injury. It’s getting better but we are going day by day and it will be a game time decision. I’m happy and I trust the work that I did. It’s basically a day to day decision.”
Poland coach Igor Milicic:
My team worked very, very hard especially when we pressing for the first part of the Eurobasket and then playing friendly games. We gave ground day by day physically, mentally and tactically. Thankfully we are healthy and we are ready to go and give from the first to last minute our best. We are preparing our team that he is playing as he is very motivated to play. We know what we need to do against the Czech Republic team.”
Aleksandar Balcerowski, Poland’s young up and coming big man exclusively to The Sports Rabbi
“We had our last session and we are motivated and ready ahead of the Czech Republic. We need to believe in ourselves and everyone has to give that little extra. We are ready and we are motivated to play those games and I think we can get out of the group to the knockout stage.”
First Eurobasket for both the center and the coach:
“I’m excited and ready to help the team in my first Eurobasket, a little bit stressed but that is normal. He’s a young coach and we try to do what he says and follow his mentality in offense and defense. We are now more experienced with him but we are still getting to know him and him us, each game we are playing more together.”
Mateusz Ponitka, Poland captain:
“This will be fun to be a part of and we players that can handle the pressure, tomorrow will be a full house with many supporters. Whenever you start the tournament at home I’m front of your crowd there is pressure for the Czech Republic. The next games will also be important for us and it’s the most talented Eurobasket in history. We will try to do as much as well can to surprise and bring some nice moments for our fans.”