In an article at the FIBA website, Manu Ginobili expressed how special his current Argentine national team is.
Ginobili has played on successful teams in the NBA and in the international level, but claims he has never been part of a group more focused than the Argentine team as they prepare for the FIBA Americas Championship that will take place at their home country.
The San Antonio Spurs star, who has an Olympic gold, FIBA Americas gold, FIBA World Championship silver, three NBA titles, and a Euroleague crown, praised the camaraderie in his Argentine squad as they prepare for the tournament in Mar del Plata.
“I have never been part of a team like this where everyone is fighting for the same goal with so much team-work,” he said.
“We are all proud to be a part of it, it is a great honor, a great pleasure to represent the country and unite together.
“There are players who are stars from their club teams who come here and leave their ego aside. That’s what I admire.
“To play with players of this quality makes everything easier.”
Coach Julio Lamas declared himself delighted with the progress they have made so far.
“The pace is dizzying, so much has been achieved in a five days,” he said. “It seems like it has been twenty.
“The difference to club basketball is that everything is done so quickly, in 40 days rather than 10 months.
“We have players who know each other well and that is a huge benefit. The first objective is to play well as a team and for that we must keep working.”
There has, however, been bad news for Argentina this week, with confirmation on Wednesday that Leo Gutierrez will miss the tournament.
The player complained dizziness after a training session and tests have found that he is suffering from tachycardia, a problem related to his heart beat.
He has now been ruled out for a month at least and will not be able to play at the tournament.
“The important thing is that the scare is over and that we now have a definitive answer as to what the situation is,” said team doctor Diego Grippo.
“It is a low point because the team has lost a huge player, but the important thing is for him to recover.”
Fabricio Oberto, who initially retired from basketball because of a similar problem diagnosed during his time with the Spurs said he had spoken to Gutierrez about making a comeback attempt in upcoming tournament.
“I told him he must be patient, and listen to the doctors and follow them to the letter,” he said. “You have to see the positive and say it is better to discover something like this early.”
Besides Ginobili and Oberto, the Argentine national squad includes NBA players Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, and Carlos Delfino.
With a talented lineup brimming with chemistry, and playing in front of their home crowd, Argentina is looking like a shoo-in to get a ticket for the 2012 London Olympics.