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Antetokounmpo brothers, Bourousis and Calathes all in Greece preliminary squad for World Cup
ATHENS (Greece) - Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers, Thanasis and Kostas, are in Greece's 18-man squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
The NBA's Most Valuable Player this season after a dominant campaign with the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo, 24, appeared at the World Cup in Spain five years ago. He also featured at FIBA EuroBasket 2015 and at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin in 2016, when Thanasis, who is 26, joined the team.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, 21, has yet to play for the senior side but did suit up for the country at the 2016 U20 European Championship Division B in Chalkida, Greece. He was also in the preliminary squad for the 2017 U20 European Championship but couldn't play after getting hurt. He now has a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
|Greece's 18-player preliminary squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019|
|Giannis Athinaiou||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Thanasis Antetokounmpo||Kostas Antetokounmpo|
|Giannis Bourousis||Nick Calathes||Tyler Dorsey||Antonis Koniaris|
|Giannoulis Larentzakis||Vaggelis Mantzaris||Dinos Mitoglou||Giorgos Papagiannis|
|Kostas Papanikolaou||Ioannis Papapetrou||Giorgos Printezis||Christos Saloustros|
|Kostas Sloukas||Panagiotis Vasilopoulos|
Tyler Dorsey of the Memphis Grizzlies has been named as Greece's naturalized player. Dorsey played in two of Greece's European Qualifiers games.
There are plenty of veterans, like star center Giannis Bourousis, a leader for Greece over the years. He was one of the most influential players in the European Qualifiers. There are also Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou, players that teamed up on arguably the most dramatic play of the European Qualifiers.
Calathes capped an amazing performance by feeding Papanikolaou on a game-winning fast break at Georgia as time expired.
Another Greece hero from the European Qualifiers that has been included is Giannis Athinaiou. He hit the game-winning shot at Great Britain in the very first game.
Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos talked about the squad.
"First of all," he said, "I would like to thank all the guys that participated in the qualifying games. They gave everything in order for us to be here, working for our trip to China. Our choice is a mixture of experience and youth with players who want to work hard in order to get the best results possible.
"We had one place for a player not born in Greece, and we chose Tyler Dorsey, since we believe he better fits the needs of our team and it was clear that he has a great will to work with us and be in the team.
"We decided also to invite Kostas Antetokounmpo because we follow his evolution and we expect a lot of him and we think that we can only benefit if he gradually starts getting in touch with the national team."
Kostas Antetokounmpo played for Greece's U20 team in 2016
Greece's players will gather on July 24. They will stage a tournament in Crete August 9-11 that will include Hungary and World Cup side Iran.
Greece will also host the Akropolis Tournament August 16-18 in Athens with World Cup sides Italy, Serbia and Turkey also taking part.
Their last warm-up games will be played at an event in China against the Chinese, Jordan and either Turkey or Senegal.
At the World Cup, Greece will play in Group F against New Zealand, Brazil and Montenegro. A top-two finish would put them in Second Round Group K against the top two countries from a Group A that consists of the USA, Japan, Czech Republic and Turkey. A top-two finish in that Second Round group would be needed to advance to the Quarter-Finals.