Credit: Hellenic BF
Credit Hellenic BF

Greece national team are heading into their first pre-EuroBasket friendly games, as coach Dimitris Itoudis is trying to instill his basic principles to the squad.

Georgios Papagiannis

Georgios  Papagiannis
Position: C
Age: 25
Height: 218 cm
Weight: 125 kg
Birth place: Greece

However, in addition to the five players (Giorgos Tanoulis, Lefteris Mantzoukas, Omiros Netzipoglou, Alex Antetokounmpo, Giorgos Tsalmpouris) who have already been cut by the experienced tactician, another one might not make the cut for the EuroBasket, albeit for different reasons.

Georgios Papagiannis has not practiced since the first day of preparation (August 1),  since the muscular issue in the posterior femur that he faces has kept him sidelined.

At this stage, it is certain that the 25-year-old big man will miss the two friendly matches against Spain on August 9 at OAKA and two days later in Madrid. He'll also skip the Acropolis tournament, from Aug. 17 through 19, and the 2023 World Cup qualifying game vs. Serbia on the 25th.

According to gazzetta.gr, his realistic goal is to make Greece's home game against Belgium on August 28, and -more importantly- the 2022 EuroBasket. On August 31, Greece will be traveling to Milan to play the first round of the tournament, starting September 2. 

In case Papagiannis isn't able to join the team, Itoudis will have to resort to other options in order to fill in the gap, possibly using Giannis (in addition to his brother Kostas) Antetokounmpo at center. Forward Dimitris Agravanis could potentially provide some minutes as a center, but solely on a part-time basis. 

The fact that the All-EuroLeague Second Team selection member hasn't been able to practice has caused concern to Itoudis and his assistants. The player underwent an MRI, the results of which did not show any substantial improvement, which means that the Greek international will need considerable time to recover fully. 

Ahead of the two prep games against Spain, the Greek Basketball Federation announced that neither Papagiannis nor Kostas Sloukas are expected to play. In the case of Sloukas, it was decided that he'd better not follow the rest of the squad to Madrid, in order to practice individually in Athens. The 32-year-old guard will, however, be integrated into the team after August 12. 

On the eve of the first match between Greece and Spain (18:00 CEST), the hosts also announced that 11,000 tickets have been sold so far.

 

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