Taylor stresses importance of continuity, as Poland name FIBA EuroBasket 2017 squad
Having revealed Poland's preliminary squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017, coach Mike Taylor underlined the importance of continuity in the national team program.
Therefore, it was not at all a surprise to see all 12 players to have played for the country in last year's Qualifiers, headlined by Mateusz Ponitka and Maciej Lampe, named in the extended 24-player candidate list.
Poland preliminary 24-player squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017: Aaron Cel, Aleksandar Czyz, Bartosz Diduszko, Tomasz Gielo, Karol Gruszecki, Adam Hrycaniuk, Przemylsaw Karnowski, Lukasz Koszarek, Damien Kulig, Maciej Lampe, Filip Matczak, Andy Mazurczak, Michal Michalak, Jaroslaw Mokros, Dominik Olejniczak, Mateusz Ponitka, Robert Skibniewski, A.J. Slaughter, Mychal Sokolowski, Szymon Szewczyk, Daniek Szymkiewicz, Adam Waczynski, Matieu Wojciechowski, Przemyslaw Zamojski.
"We have built a strong foundation over the past three years and we're looking forward to the upcoming FIBA EuroBasket 2017 challenges in Helsinki and Istanbul. The 24-man squad is made up from the same core and several future-oriented additions," said Taylor, whose side finished 11th the FIBA EuroBasket 2015 in France.
Having stepped up for the national team after the international retirement of star man Marcin Gortat, Ponitka and Lampe were Poland's go-to players during the qualification campaign.The 23-year-old scoring ace Ponitka averaged 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists, while 32-year-old Lampe provided a veteran presence, chipping in with 14,6 points and 7.4 boards per game in the Qualifiers.
In spite of recently undergoing hip surgery, the availability of Lampe for the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 is increasingly likely.
Also on the list is the team's naturalized point guard A.J. Slaughter and Gonzaga Bulldogs star Przemyslaw Karnoswki, who are expected to have major roles for the Taylor-coached team.
"We will put our whole heart to the task and we will do our best to be a team that Poland can be proud of. I believe we have everything necessary to continue our success and become even better," predicted coach Taylor, looking to the summer ahead.
The candidate list will be reduced to just 16 players by the coaching staff before the national team starts their preparations with a training camp in Walbrzych on July 15.
Alongside the national teams of France, Greece, Iceland, Slovenia and tournament co-hosts Finland, Poland will play the Group Phase of the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 in Group A, which will take place in the Finnish capital Helsinki.