Basketball: Casspi weighs up national team option

Israeli star: It's a difficult decision. The Kings want me to return early so I can train and play as much as possible before the season begins.

omri casspi 248.88 (photo credit: )
omri casspi 248.88
(photo credit: )
Omri Casspi returned to Israel for a long overdue break on Sunday and hinted he will not be playing for the national team in September's European Championships. The 21-year-old Israeli, who was selected 23rd by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA draft last month, spent the last three weeks accustoming himself to his new surroundings in California and in the past week played for his team in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Casspi averaged 8.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 3.4 turnovers in 22.4 minutes on court in five games in Vegas and said he believes he will have to make a "difficult decision" regarding his participation in the EuroBasket tournament. "I need to speak with national team coach Tzvika Sherf and we will have to decide what is best for me and for Israeli basketball," Casspi said on his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday. "There are a lot of problems with this. I really want to be on the team and Tzvika really wants me, but on the other hand I also represent the country when I'm playing in the US. I need to be ready for the NBA and feel good with myself. I may need to make a difficult decision. "The Kings want me to return early so I can train and play as much as possible before the season begins." Casspi is looking forward to taking some time off after playing basketball non-stop for the past 12 months, first for the national team, then Maccabi Tel Aviv and finally for Sacramento. "I've earned this break," he said. "I need these two weeks to rest. I've been playing basketball for 12 months straight." Casspi also spoke of his experiences in the Summer League. "I felt more and more comfortable with every game," Casspi said. "The game is completely different. The rhythm, speed and intensity are all different. But it's only a matter of time until I get used to it. "The day I left the head coach, Paul Westphal, told me he enjoyed watching me during the week. "He said they are very happy they picked me and want to see me back in Sacramento as soon as possible."