Great Britain are in EuroBasket’s toughest group in Panevezys. Here’s MVP’s team by team guide.


Coach: Chris Finch

How They Got Here: 1st place in qualifying Group B (6-2)

Track Record: 1st round in 2009. England came 12th in 1955, Scotland were 15th in 1957.

Who to Watch:  Luol Deng. The Chicago Bulls forward is coming off his best NBA season yet but has shone for the national team ever since he made his debut in 2007. He missed EuroBasket two years ago through injury but with the 2012 Olympic hosts gearing up for next summer, Britain will be keen to prove their worth at the highest level.

Chances: Mixed build-up, questions over the offense, and a young point guard trio mean an uphill battle to make the second round in the Group of Death.


Rimantas Kaukenas can be Lithuania's talisman (FIBA Europe)


Coach: Kęstutis Kemzūra

How They Got Here: Automatic qualification (3rd at 2010 world championships)

Track Record: Winners: 2003, 1939, 1937

Who to Watch: Rimantas Kaukenas. Returning to the national team after sitting out the world championships, the Siena guard will join a young team that surprised everyone in Turkey last summer before losing to the USA in the semis. Home expectations will be huge but the loss of Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza is a blow.

Chances: If they can deal with the pressure of an expectant nation, a team that should be targeting the semis at least.



Coach: Aleš Pipan

How They Got Here: 4th in Group C (4-4)

Track Record: 2nd place: 1963

Who to Watch: Losing Marcin Gortat, the Phoenix Suns centre, because of insurance issues was a massive blow. With Maciej Lampe also skipping the tournament, the Poles now have a mediocre front line and a weak backcourt with no real totem, other than their American-born swingman Thomas Kelati.

Chances:  Not huge.



Coach: Mario Palma

How they Got Here: 2nd in additional qualifying tournament

Track Record: 2nd Round: 2007

Who to Watch: Antonio Tavares missed most of the build-up to the additional qualifying tournament through injury but he rebounded to help the Portuguese to still comfortably come second to Finland to reach here. Palma, who has wide experience internationally with both Angola and Jordan, will be an asset as coach.

Chances: Minimal.



Jose Calderon will lead Spain's challenge (FIBA)

Coach: Sergio Scariolo

How They Got Here: Automatic (6th at worlds)

Track Record: Winners: 2009

Who to Watch: Pau Gasol. After copping the flak for the Lakers no-show in the NBA play-offs, Marc’s big brother is back after a two-year break as the Spaniards try to repeat. With a few retirements, Scariolo has freshened up his side with a few new faces including NBA centre Serge Ibaka.

Chances: Never write them off. They’ve undergone an overhaul and had some impressive results. Potential winners.


Ilyasova can spark Turkey (FIBA)


Coach: Orhun Ene

How They Got Here: Automatic (2nd at worlds)

Track Record: 2nd place: 2001

Who to Watch: Ersan Ä°lyasova. Outstanding when the Turks went all the way to the world championship final on home soil last year, Ilyasova then went back to the Milwaukee Bucks and impressed around the league. With a formidable line-up around him, there is no shortage of talent.

Chances:  Turkey just don’t travel well. Expect under-achievement.


For a full preview of EuroBasket 2011, get the summer issue of MVP Magazine – on sale now.

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