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Nando-less France to lean heavily on Diot, Heurtel
STRASBOURG (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Antoine Diot and Thomas Heurtel are going to have a lot of responsibility for France at the FIBA Basketball World Cup with both Tony Parker and Nando de Colo not making the trip to Granada, Spain.
EuroBasket 2013 MVP Parker decided long ago to take this summer off from the national team while De Colo has been ruled out with a left hand injury.
The 27-year-old had been set to log a lot of minutes as playmaker but he fractured his left metacarpal and won't recover in time to help France as they take on Spain, Serbia, Iran, Egypt and Brazil in Group A.
"This is a real blow," De Colo said.
"I am terribly disappointed not to participate in this competition.
"I felt great and I had a lot of desire to meet the new challenges of Team France."
Instead of bringing in another point guard, Collet has opted to include forward Charles Kahudi, the last player to be cut from the squad.
He will bring a lot of energy from the bench and help France on defense and the boards.
The absences of Parker and De Colo have put Diot and Heurtel in the spotlight, and that is something both will be familiar with.
Diot has already been an integral part of the French team, both in 2009 when he helped Les Bleus qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and last year when he played big minutes and made crucial contributions in the side that won the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
Heurtel has been in the basketball wars in both the Spanish Liga Endesa and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague with Laboral Kutxa.
If he was disappointed not to have an important role last year with France, he now has the opportunity to show the world what he can do.
Collet does have one of the most versatile players in the tournament in his team as well with big man Boris Diaw a competent ball-handler. Shooting guards Evan Fournier and Edwin Jackson are also sure to help the French bring the ball up the court if needed.
Kahudi, meanwhile, expressed his happiness at being recalled to the French team on Twitter but offered commiserations to De Colo.
France squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Antoine Diot, Evan Fournier, Mickael Gelabale, Rudy Gobert, Thomas Heurtel, Edwin Jackson, Charles Kahudi, Joffrey Lauvergne, Ian Mahinmi and Florent Pietrus.