Hoopsters aim high in Lithuania

The national team took off on August 28 from Athens to Austria, from which it will head to Lithuania for the European Championship that tips off on August 31.

Despite its numerous absentees, Greece appears to be a solid and competitive squad, although its lack of experience could still prove costly when it really matters.

Coach Ilias Zouros has opted for a number of young players to join the few remaining members of the old clan, i.e. Nikos Zisis, Yiannis Bourousis and captain Antonis Fotsis.

The Greek national team scored seven wins in nine friendly games, with both losses coming from Italy, one at Rimini and one in Athens, after the second overtime, at the Acropolis tournament.

Compared with its first friendlies, Greece now appears much more creative in attack, and stronger in defense, with credit going to its new coach, Zouros.

“We have managed to improve as a team through hard work, but there is scope for more improvement. We have a young team and for many of the players this will be their first major tournament,» Zouros said before Greece’s departure.

The Greeks are in the same pool as Bosnia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro and Finland, and their first match is against the Bosnians on Wednesday.

The main target for Greece is to finish in the top six of the tournament, which will allow it to fight for a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games, unless it makes the final in Lithuania, which will grant it automatic qualification to London.