Thursday, July 28, 2011

FIBA - Kosta Koufos Prepares for the 2011 European Championship

(Screencap - Nikos Zisis & Kosta Koufos of the Greek National Team- 2009 Eurobasket Preparation)

FIBA Time - After a couple dry Summer months without Pro Basketball, international fans can finally get excited again with the onset of the worldwide FIBA zone national team tournaments in August/September 2011. These biennial competitions determine the very best national squads in the Americas, Africa, Asia & Europe. The top finishers of these tournaments not only attain prestige as the best teams of their respective continents, but they will also qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England as well.

Team USA has already earned an automatic entry into the Olympics due to their 2010 FIBA World Championship Title, and they will not participate in the 2011 Fiba Americas Tournament.

Koufos rejoins Hellas - The 2011 European Championship aka Eurobasket will take place in the country of Lithuania (starting in late August/Early September). Former Buckeye & Greek-American (3 years pro) Kosta Koufos departed from the States en route to Greece in early July to prepare for the upcoming tournament. The final roster is not quite set yet, but Koufos looks like a lock to be one of Greece's big men for Eurobasket.

This will be Koufos' third stint with the Greek National Team. He participated in the 2007 FIBA Europe U18 Tournament where he was named MVP, and he was also apart of the 2009 Eurobasket squad (pictured left - FIBA Europe). Kosta declined an invite to the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, opting instead to remain in the U.S to prepare for his new situation (traded from Utah to Minnesota in Summer of 2010) in what was a very important year for him.

Greece can use Kosta - Koufos' first stint with Senior Greek National team was up & down. He was able to get a lot of run in the preparation stage & played relatively well. But the rotation shrunk under then NT coach Jonas Kazlauskas when the real games kicked in which didn't allow for many minutes. Koufos hopes to transition his year of improvement with Minnesota/Denver into some contribution at the 2011 tournament.

Greece will definitely need Kosta & others to step up and make some noise in light of their current mild national team crisis. Injuries and team declines have hit their national team hard. Top players such as Dimitris Diamantidis, Theo Papaloukas, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, Nick Calathes (pictured left with Kosta - 2009), and Vassilis Spanoulis will reportedly not play for Greece (which has already brought the team down from a medal favorite to just a contender for the knockout stage).

Videos - Kosta Koufos Clips from the 2009 EuroBasket Preparation stage, plus NBA highlights from this past 2010/2011 season!

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