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September 16, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-16

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 16, 2005 -11
NBA stars to hihiht Euro games txt

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - The
NBA will be well represented at the European
Basketball Championship, led by the host nation
with five players.
More than 20 NBA players will be part of the
16-nation, 10-day tournament that opens today in
four cities.
Serbia-Montenegro is loaded with talent even
though its best player, Sacramento Kings All-Star
Peja Stojakovic, decided not to play. Coach Zeljko
Obradovic even cut Sasa Pavlovic of the Cleveland
Cavaliers.
Still, the reigning world champion boasts Marko
Jaric of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Nenad
Krstic of the New Jersey Nets, Zeljko Rebraca of
the Los Angeles Clippers, Vladimir Radmanovic
of the Seattle SuperSonics and Darko Milicic of
the Detroit Pistons.
The hosts, who finished 11th at the Athens
Olympics, have a tough opening game against
Spain in Novi Sad. Spain has won its last five
games against the Serbs, but will be without Pau
Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Everyone says it's bad news to play them first,
and it probably is," said Spain's big man, Jorge
Garbajosa. "But if we are ambitious - and we are

- we have to get over it and think that the next
time we play them it will be in the final."
Serbia-Montenegro and Spain appear the favor-
ites in Group D, which includes Latvia and Israel,
a late qualifier.
"There are 10 teams that can win the title
this time," Obradovic said. "But the gold
medal is the only one that interests me. I
don't think our fans would be pleased with
anything else. The game against Spain is the
most important one, and if we beat them I
don't think we'll have a lot of problems."
In Group A, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk
Nowitzki will try to lead Germany past Italy and
Russia, which is paced by Utah Jazz All-Star
Andrei Kirilineko.
"You should always set high goals, so we are
seeking a medal," Nowitzki said.
Italy was third at the previous championship in
Sweden two years ago and took the silver medal
at the Olympics last year, although it has no NBA
players.
"We are quite tired," said Italy coach Carlo
Recalcati. "We are probably the oldest team going
into the EuroBasket tournament, and we haven't
quite adapted to this situation."

Russia also has young Portland forwards Vik-
tor Khryapa and Sergei Monya, plus a trio of play-
ers from CSKA Moscow, one of the top clubs in
Europe.
In Group B in Podgorica, defending champion
Lithuania is without an NBA player. Missing for
various reasons are Sarunas Jasikevicius, who has
signed with the Indiana Pacers, free agent Darius,
Songalia, Arvydas Macijauskas of New Orleans,
and the retired Salius Stombergas and Eurelijus
Zukauskas.
"The most dangerous teams for us all have play-
ers from the NBA," forward Mindaugus Zukaus-
kas said.
Also in Group B are Croatia, Bulgaria and Tur-
key, which has four players with NBA experience
- Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur, Ibrahim Kutlay
and Mirsad Turkcan.
In Group C in Belgrade, Tony Parker of
the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs leads
France, which also has Golden State guard
Mickael Pietrus.
Slovenia is without Parker's teammate, Beno
Udrih, who is injured. Bosnia-Herzegovina and
Greece, which went 8-0 in warmup games, com-
plete the group.

AP PHOTO
Dror Hagag, right, of Israel, challenges for the ball with Czech Republic's Pavel Milos during their
additional qualifying tournament for the European Basketball Championship on Monday.

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