Argentina coach Julio Lamas has announced his squad for the FIBA Americas Championship. Leonardo Mainoldi and Juan Pablo Figueroa were the last players to be cut.
“I chose the best twelve players because I can set up the best possible team and I have all the resources I need to play the tournament,” Lamas said at a press conference on Saturday.
Argentina, ranked 3rd in the world, will start the tournament as the favorites to clinch one of the two spots for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Lamas, however, wants the player to go step by step.
“We still have three more days before tips off, which would represent four or five practicing hours,” the coach said. “We still have things to repeat and improve and we can still evolve in order to play better every day during the tournament.”
Leonardo Gutierrez, a 2004 Olympic champion, was expected to be part of the squad but was ruled out due to a heart condition in early August.
“We wanted Leo to be with us because he has always been part of this group and we consider him a key player, but doctors wouldn’t allow him to play yet. He can only practice for the time being,” explained Lamas.
Former Spur Fabricio Oberto who is recovering from an injury was named to the Argentine national squad together with San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili.
Joining Oberto and Ginobili on the team are, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Pablo Prigioni, Juan Ignacio Sanchez, Paolo Quinteros, Hernan Jasen, Federico Kammerichs, Juan Gutierrez and Martin Leiva.
Richards played well for the GB U20s and has impressed coaches by his work ethic and determination.
However, he didn’t play much at the London invitational and did not play well enough in Team GB’s last warm-up game against Davis Bertan’s and the Latvian squad.
Regardless, Performance Director, Chris Spice has been impressed by Ryan’s performances this summer and is optimistic about his future international career:
“Ryan has had a great summer with British Basketball starting back in June with the under 20 programme. His great performances there and at the front of the senior camp meant he was still in the mix to the very end which is a credit to his effort. If he continues to improve on the little things in his game then he will have a lengthy international basketball career. We look forward to seeing him progress and we wish him well in his upcoming club season.”
Richards development over the summer is welcome sight for the Spurs, he may not be joining Great Britain at the 2011 EuroBasket in Lithuania, but his game and basketball skills have tremendously improved and that could convince the Spurs to consider bringing him over to San Antonio when the NBA season resumes.