Macedonia, Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina will stand in the national team's way of qualifying for EuroBasket 2007 in Spain when the campaign gets underway in August. Israel was one of the top seeds in the draw that took place Saturday in Madrid.
Coach Tsvika Sherf will be in charge of carrying the team to an eighth-straight appearance at the European Championships. Sherf took over last year when the chips were down but managed to lead the blue-and-white through the last-chance qualifying event and then to the second round at the tournament in Serbia-Montenegro, where they lost to eventual champ Greece.
The Bosnian side, the only one of the three opponents to reach the last championships, will be the toughest opposition. The team features naturalized citizen Henry Domercant of Efes Pilsen, former Hapoel Tel Aviv forward Jasmin Hukic and 2.20-meter center Aleksandar Radojevic.
Israel certainly won't overlook Portugal, a team that stunned Israel in the 2005 qualifying and forced the team to book its ticket via the last-chance event.
Macedonia has had no real success at the high levels, but has a strong team with former Ramat Gan big man Ryan Stack, NBA draft prospect Predrag Samaedziski and Ulker point guard Vrbca Stefanov.
Only the group winners and the two second-place teams with the best records will qualify directly.
The women's team was drawn to Group B of the qualifying for EuroBasket Women 2007 in Italy, along with Ukraine, Slovenia and Turkey.
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