27 Jul
    10 Aug 2024

    Japan coach Hovasse after Olympic Draw: ''We want to shock the world''

    After an amazing summer in 2023, coach Tom Hovasse wants to build on that wave and shock the world in 2024.

    TOKYO (Japan) - Japan will not have the home comforts it enjoyed at the FIBA Basketball World Cup last year when it runs onto the court to play at the Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament Paris 2024.

    Yet following Tuesday's draw for the event at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball, the Japanese will at least have plenty of insight into two of the opponents, World Cup winners Germany and Olympic hosts France.

    Japan fell to Germany on opening day at last year's World Cup in Okinawa

    And the feel-good factor is still the prevailing emotion for Japan, with coach Tom Hovasse declaring after the draw: "We want to shock the world. I think we can do it."

    Japan need to finish in the top two, or be one of the best third-place teams in the three groups to advance to the Quarter-Finals.

    As far as familiar faces, Japan will face both France and Germany in Group B, along with the winners of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, where Latvia, Philippines, Georgia, Brazil, Cameroon and Montenegro are going after the one spot on offer to play at the Summer Games.

    "We played a game last year (against Germany and France)," Japan coach Tom Hovasse said. "I know the scouting and the roster, so I think that will help a lot."

    Japan took on France in Tokyo on August 17 in a warmup game for the World Cup and lost, 88-70, and then squared off against Germany in Okinawa on the opening day of the competition and fell, 81-63.

    Hovasse's team rebounded with a come-from-behind win over Finland, however, which helped pave the way for Olympic qualification as the Asian team with the highest finish (19th) at the World Cup.

    France had a disappointing World Cup. A country that has grown accustomed to reaching the podiums of World Cups and FIBA EuroBaskets, Les Bleus struggled and came in 18th at the event.

    France will be looking to rebound from their 18th place finish at the World Cup

    The French should be more formidable with the likely presence of rookie NBA sensation Victor Wembanyama in the lineup.

    Hovasse said of the 2.24m (7ft 4in) 20-year-old: "He's a good player.I don't think Wemby and (Rudy) Gobert will play together, but if they do, there's a lot to it. I don't know what my opponent will do, but those matchups and challenges are interesting and I like them."

    Japan could be stronger as well. Hovasse could have Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura in his team. Hovasse and Hachimura will meet in the coming weeks and fans will then see if Hachimura is in the squad.


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