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Spain announce ambitious EuroBasket 2015 squad
MADRID (EuroBasket 2015) - Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo on Friday announced the 12-man roster that will assume the challenge of restoring the two-time European champions to the top of the podium at EuroBasket 2015.
Following the news on Thursday that Alex Abrines would be unable to participate in September's big event because of his plantar fascitiis problem, Scariolo was left with 13 players to choose from and one important decision to make.
Following this decision, Spain will require Victor Claver to help out more at the '3' spot, unlike EuroBasket 2013 when the versatile forward had assumed the role of Marc Gasol's partner in the frontcourt.
Spain superstar Pau Gasol headlines a group of highly-decorated veterans which includes the Real Madrid quartet of Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes, who will be the captain of the national team this year.
Claver is another member of the Spanish sides that won back-to-back EuroBasket titles in 2009 and 2011 while Fernando San Emeterio has one continental crown in his collection as he was only part of the team in the Lithuania tournament four years ago.
Scariolo's final roster includes four senior national team debutants, with varying degrees of experience.
The Chicago Bulls forward had averaged 10 rebounds and an all-time-high 27 points in 2011 in Blibao to lead an undefeated Spain to the gold medal and walk away with MVP honours.
Pau Ribas has long been considered a very talented guard but the extreme competition for a spot in the Spanish backcourt has meant that his debut with the senior national team in an official game will take place at the age of 28.
The combo guard, who has just signed with Barcelona, came into his own during the past two years at Valencia Basket and was voted in the Liga Endesa All-Star Team last season.
Guillem Vives was a team-mate of Ribas at Valencia last season but, unlike the veteran, the young point guard only entered the discussion of the EuroBasket squad late in spring, thanks to some spectacular displays in the Eurocup and the Liga Endesa play-offs.
Even amidst this star-studded roster, the 22-year-old playmaker is the most shining example of meteoric rise as he signed his first professional contract (with Joventut Badalona) only in autumn 2013, following a solid display at the U20 European Championship of that year.
The youngest player on the Spanish side which will compete at EuroBasket 2015 however is Willy Hernangomez, who is interestingly the first child in a family saga which started with the marriage of two former players, Guillermo Hernangomez and Margarita Geuer.
The 21-year-old center and his brother Juan became the first brothers to be voted on the All-Star Team of an U20 European Championship in consecutive years, in 2014 and 2015 respectively, while their 15-year-old sister Andrea also became a Spanish international this summer.
Spain final roster for EuroBasket 2015: Pablo Aguilar, Pau Gasol, Victor Claver, Rudy Fernandez, Guillermo Hernangomez, Sergio Llull, Nikola Mirotic, Felipe Reyes, Pau Ribas, Sergio Rodriguez, Fernando San Emeterio and Guillem Vives.
Go to eurobasket2015.org for complete coverage of EuroBasket 2015.