Israel national team coach Erez Edelstein.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Israel star Omri Casspi is confident the national team can take a significant step forward in its preparations for EuroBasket 2015 in its final warm-up tournament in Croatia this week.
The blue-and-white dropped to 0-5 this summer following Sunday night’s 79-71 defeat to Serbia at Yad Eliyahu Arena. Israel also lost to last year’s World Cup finalist a day earlier after previously suffering setbacks against Macedonia and Ukraine.
Israel will play three games in as many days in Zagreb, facing Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday before playing Estonia on Thursday and Croatia on Friday.
The national team will play in Group A in EuroBasket 2015, which gets under way next Saturday, being drawn with host and defending champion France, as well as Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland and Finland.
“This may be a cliche but we will be entering the European Championships at 0-0. Even if we lose all our warm-up games and even if we had won them all it wouldn’t have been that important,” said Casspi. “What is important is that for the first time the entire roster will be playing together in Croatia. This will be an excellent test for us and we need to take a step forward.”
Casspi missed the second game against Serbia on Sunday through illness, while D’or Fischer was unavailable for the first.
Yogev Ohayon didn’t take part in the tournament in Macedonia due to his ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease, while Lior Eliyahu also skipped the trip due to personal reasons.
The four will play together for the first time in Croatia.
“We are not at the point we want to be at but we will do our best,” said coach Erez Edelstein, who will announce his 12-man roster for the championships next week. “This is one of the worst preparation periods we have had, but it’s a massive challenge.”