FRANCE named its final lineup for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Wednesday, leaving Turkey and Canada as the only teams yet to finalize their rosters for the qualifiers set July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The French Basketball Federation unveiled their 12-man lineup for the Manila OQT, led by NBA standouts Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and, as expected, Nicolas Batum.
France coach Vincent Collet’s squad also has guards Nando De Colo, Thomas Huertel, Antoine Diot; forwards Mickael Gelabale, Florent Pietrus, Charles Kahudi, Adrien Moerman; and centers Kim Tillie and Joffrey Lauvergne of the Denver Nuggets (who is their tallest player at 6-foot-11).
NBA big man Alexis Ajinca and guard Edwin Jackson did not make the cut, although Jackson will be part of the French contingent that will fly from Paris to Manila on Wednesday night as a possible replacement for Batum (in case his NBA free agency keeps him from suiting up) or Diot (who is still hampered by a groin injury).
Out of the six teams vying for the lone slot to Rio in the Manila OQT, only Canada and Turkey have yet to name their final 12. However, coach Jay Triano of the Canadian national team confirmed to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star that Tristan Thompson is part of their roster that already includes other NBA players like Corey Joseph, Tyler Ennis, and Joel Anthony. Minnesota’s rising star Andrew Wiggins has already begged off from the team.
Meanwhile, Turkey is the first to arrive in the country on Tuesday, led by their twin towers Omer Asik and Semih Erden. Turkey coach Ergin Ataman has yet to decide on trimming his 15-man lineup down to 12. Joining Asik and Erden are Ender Arslan, Dogus Balbay, Birkan Batuk, Samet Geyik, Sinan Guler, Baris Hersek, Furkan Korkmaz, Melih Mahmutoglu, Ali Muhammed, Can Mutaf, Cedi Osman, Oguz Savas and Kenan Sipahi.
Hersek led Turkey with 16 points, while Erden added 16 and Geyik chipped in 13 in their 35-point blowout over Gilas Pilipinas last week. The two teams will meet again for another tuneup on Friday, with Gilas parading its final 12 on home soil for the first time. The Philippine team will be led by naturalized center Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Ranidel De Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Bobby Ray Parks, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, and Jeff Chan.
On the other hand, New Zealand and Senegal have finalized their respective rosters, which will have no NBA players as Minnesota big man Gorgui Dieng elected to withdraw from Senegal’s lineup but will be with the team in Manila.
The Tall Blacks will be led by spitfire Corey Webster, athletic big man Isaac Fotu, and veteran Mika Vukona, while the Senegalese side will bank on Antoine Mendy, Maurice Ndour, and Hamady Ndiaye. Here’s a look at their final lineups for the Manila OQT:
New Zealand: Corey Webster, Isaac Fotu, Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, BJ Anthony, Everard Bartlett, Shea Ili, Michael Karena, Rob Loe, Jordan Ngatai, Derone Raukawa, and Tai Webster.
Senegal: Antoine Mendy, Hamady Ndiaye, Maurice Ndour, Clevin Hannah, Louis Adams, Serigne Bamba Gueye, Cheikh Tidiane Mbodj, El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, Abdoulaye Ndoye, Maleye Ndoye, Thierno Ibrahima Niang, and Ibrahima Thomas.