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CRO - Plenty of continuity as Croatia prepare for training camp
ZAGREB (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Jasmin Repesa has trimmed the list of his players in his preliminary squad ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain to just 17, with Oliver Lafayette still included.
A Eurocup winner with Valencia Basket on 7 May, Louisiana native Lafayette will compete as a naturalized player if he makes the final squad with the star who filled that role the past two seasons, guard Dontaye Draper, having been removed from the original 24-man list.
Draper, who has just signed a contract to play for Anadolu Efes, excelled with Croatia at EuroBasket 2013 and was an important player for Real Madrid but injuries sidelined him for lengthy spells during the 2013-14 campaign.
Lafayette, one of the Spanish league's top newcomers, has signed a deal with Olympiacos.
In all, 10 of the Croatia players who went on an eight-game winning streak at EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia and finished fourth are among the 17 players.
New Indiana Pacers signing Damjan Rudez and recent NBA draft pick Dario Saric headline the list that also includes returning members Roko Leni Ukic, Krunoslav Simon, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mario Delas, Damir Markota, Ante Tomic, Luka Zoric and Luksa Andric.
Lafayette, Rok Stipcevic, Mario Hezonja, Fran Pilepic, Luka Babic, Miro Bilan and Darko Planinic are also in the 17 and vying for spots in the Croatia side that will compete in World Cup Group B, in Seville, against Argentina, Greece, Puerto Rico, Senegal and the Philippines.
Croatia announced back in March that they will start their preparations in Svetom Martinu on 20 July and remain there until 31 July.
The team will then travel to Slavonskom Brodu and face Canada in a couple of friendly games.
After returning home and having a short break to recharge the batteries, Croatia will gather again in Zagreb on 14 August to resume the preparations. On 18 August, Croatia's squad will travel to Badalona, Spain, and take part in another friendly tournament with a game against the hosts and then a clash with Ukraine or Mexico.
Croatia will go back to Zagreb for more training and then on 26 August take on Lithuania in a final tune-up before the start of the World Cup on 30 August.