MOSCOW, August 29 (R-Sport) – Russia’s national basketball squad for the upcoming European championship includes two NBA players and a host of well-regarded youngsters but lacks some of the country’s prime veteran talent.
The roster, announced Thursday in Moscow by head coach Vasily Karasev, features six players from the 2011 EuroBasket team, which finished third, and seven players from the London 2012 Olympic team, which won a bronze medal.
The list is headlined by sharp-shooting Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Sergey Karasev and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved. Both will be relied upon to stabilize Russia’s offense in the absence of stalwart centers Alexander Kaun and Timofey Mozgov.
Sergey Karasev, the coach’s 19-year-old son, led Russia to a gold medal at the World University Games in Kazan last month. Teammates Semyon Antonov, Dmitry Kulagin, Dmitry Khvostov and Evgeny Valiev, all of whom are under age 25, will also travel to EuroBasket 2013, which runs September 4 to 22 in Slovenia.
Rounding out the roster are ex-Portland Trail Blazers forward Sergei Monia, guards Evgeny Voronov, Vitaly Fridzon and Anton Ponkrashov and veteran centers Dmitry Sokolov and Alexey Savrasenko.
Russia plays in Group D with Finland, Greece, Italy, Sweden and Turkey. The top three teams from each of the four groups advance to the second stage.
Among the Russians not going to Slovenia are Brooklyn Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, who retired from the national team earlier this year, power forward Viktor Khryapa and guard Sergey Bykov, who is sidelined by an Achilles tendon injury. Mozgov, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, backed out this summer to prepare for the upcoming NBA season, and Kaun has cited personal reasons for skipping EuroBasket.
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Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.