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FRA - With Ajinca out, opportunity knocks for young big men
PARIS (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - The players at the disposal of France coach Vincent Collet for the FIBA Basketball World Cup will be, as always, extremely talented.
France have a lot of players that compete in the NBA and with solid teams in Europe.
With Les Bleus gathering on Monday at INSEP (national sports institute) to start the preparations for the 24-team tournament in Spain, however, one huge talent will not be present.
New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca has announced on Twitter and Facebook that his pregnant wife is due to give birth during the FIBA Basketball World Cup and he will therefore not be taking part.
Ajinca's absence will be an unwanted development for Collet, who relied heavily on the center last year when France won the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
The 2.15m pivot, who averaged 9.1 points and 7.0 rebounds at the EuroBasket, said: "Hello everyone, after discussion with Vincent Collet and careful consideration, I have decided not to participate in the World Championship with Team France. This was not an easy decision, but my wife is expecting a child, whose term of pregnancy coincides with the World Championship.
"Despite my desire to participate, my priority is my family and I want to stay present with my wife for this momentous occasion.
"I look forward to seeing you with the jersey of the team of France next year."
Collet will have a press conference on Wednesday and should offer some more insight into squad.
France squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Nicolas Batum, Nobel Boungou Colo, Nando De Colo, Boris Diaw, Antoine Diot, Evan Fournier, Mickael Gelabale, Rudy Gobert, Thomas Heurtel, Edwin Jackson, Charles Kahudi, Joffrey Lauvergne, Adrien Moreman, Florent Pietrus, Kevin Seraphin and Kim Tillie.