After displaying promising form over the past month, Shawn Dowson made Israel’s final roster for EuroBasket 2015 yesterday, with the tournament getting under way on Saturday..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Eilat guard Afik Nissim was the most notable name missing from Israel coach Erez Edelstein’s final roster for Euro- Basket 2015.
Edelstein waited until just two days prior to the start of the European Championships to announce his 12-man squad on Wednesday, agonizing over one player in particular.
Youngsters Rafi Menco and Oz Blayzer were always going to be two of the four players to be left behind and it was also no surprise Alex Chubrevich didn’t make the final cut.
However, Edelstein was undecided regarding the final player he had to drop until the very last moment, ultimately choosing to release the 34-year-old Nissim in favor of the 23-year-old Timor.
The Hapoel Jerusalem guard is expected to act mainly as a back-up to Gal Mekel and Yogev Ohayon, with Raviv Limonad and Dagan Yivzori to complete the blue-and-white’s backcourt.
Omri Casspi will carry much of the load in the forward positions, with Lior Eliyahu, Elishay Kadir and up-and-coming Shawn Dowson to lend a helping hand.
D’or Fischer, Robert Rothbart and Yaniv Green are the team’s centers, with Green having a chance to break Doron Jamchi’s national team appearance record (188) if he plays in all five of Israel’s group games.
Israel faces Russia in its Group A opener on Saturday in Montpellier, France, the first of five games in six days in the group phase. The team will enjoy a rest day following the contests against Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina before wrapping up its group games with encounters against Poland and France.
The top four teams in the group will progress to the knockout rounds.
Israel advanced to EuroBasket 2015 in impressive fashion last year, winning its qualifying group for the first time since 2001.
The blue-and-white, which has won just one of eight warm-up games this summer, will be making its 12th consecutive appearance in the European Championships, but is aiming to advance past the first round for the first time since 2007 after winning just three games in total over the past three tournaments.
The championships, which for the first time in the event’s 80-year history will be hosted by four countries (France, Germany, Latvia and Croatia), are also serving as a qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The two EuroBasket finalists will book a direct ticket to the Olympics, while the four teams finishing third to sixth will compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.