Russia Olympic Men's Basketball Team 2012: Updated News, Roster & Analysis

Rick Eymer@rickeymerFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2012

Russia Olympic Men's Basketball Team 2012: Updated News, Roster & Analysis

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    The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming.

    They are not, however, the powerhouse they used to be. In sports terminology that's called "rebuilding."

    The Russians, who finished ninth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, have four players with NBA experience, another on the way to the NBA and four who played in China four years ago.

    Andrei Kirilenko is the lone player in his 30s, and he's exactly 30 with two Olympics to his credit.

    The Russians qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games in the final qualifying tournament.

    What's in store for the Russians in London?

Who's Who on the Russian National Team

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    The Russians

    PF     Vorontsevich, Andrey    
    C       Mozgov, Timofey    
    PG     Bykov, Sergey   
    SG     Fridzon, Vitaly    
    SG     Shved, Alexey    
    PF     Shabalkin, Nikita   
    SF     Khryapa, Viktor    
    SF     Antonov, Semyon   
    SF     Monya, Sergey    
    SG     Khvostov, Dmitri    
    PG     Ponkrashov, Anton    
    SF     Kirilenko, Andrei    
    C       Kaun, Alexander
    SG    Voronov, Evgeny
    SG    Karasev, Sergey

            David Blatt, Head Coach
            Dmitry Shakulin, Assistant
            Sergey Zharmukhamedov, Assistant

    Did you know?

    Coach David Blatt was born in Boston, played at Princeton and coaches both Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Russian national basketball team.

A Little More About the Russian Players

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    The NBA Connections

    Seven-footer Timofey Mozgov has three years.

    Viktor Khryapa has four years.

    Sergey Monya has two years.

    Andrei Kirilenko has 10 years, all with the Utah Jazz.

    NCAA Connection

    Center Alexander Kaun played four years at Kansas, including the national title year of 2007-08. 

    The Beijing Returnees

    Andrey Vorontsevich

    Sergey Bykov

    Vitaly Fridzon

    Viktor Khryapa

    Andrei Kirilenko

    Injury Update

    Both Vorontsevich (spine) and Bykov (knee) were declared out of the Olympics

    Did you know?

    The Russians have had some success in EuroBasket, finishing third in 2011, seventh in 2009 and winning it in 2007.

The Latest News

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    Heading for America

    On July, 10th 2012, The Associated Press reported (via Eurobasket.com) that Alexey Shved would be leaving CSKA Moscow to sign with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves on a three year, $10 million dollar contract. Shved joins a solid team with the likes of Spain's Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, and Brandon Roy.

    Getting to London

    Russia defeated Nigeria, 85-77 to claim an Olympic spot.

    Did you know?

    Anton Ponkrashov played for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Summer League in 2010.

We're Talking Russian Basketball

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    Radio stars

    The latest European Championship saw the national squad clinch bronze, which was just one step below a straight ticket to the Olympics. That meant that Russia had to take part in the final qualifying event to London.

    David Blatt is confident that Russian superstar Andrey Kirilenko can lead his team to achieving their aim.

    It’s quite evident that the team's spirits are high. Everyone feels passionate about fulfilling the task to book a place in London according to center Alexander Kaun.

This Magic Moment

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    A look back

    Two-and-a-half years ago, the Russian Basketball Federation was desperate to revive its national program. It had suffered the consequences of the old USSR breakup, losing all those players out of the breakaway regions.

    Without the old waves of talent the federation had to make the most of its resources. It had to change. The players were no longer pawns in Moscow’s military machinery. They had rich pro contracts. They had attitudes. Mostly, they had choices.

    A look at the Olympic preliminary round

    Group A         Group B

    Argentina       Australia      
    France           Brazil      
    Lithuania        China      
    Nigeria           Great Britain      
    Tunisia           Russia      
    USA              Spain

    The schedule

    Olympic Park, Basketball Arena
     

    Sunday, July 29

    Nigeria - Tunisia
    Brazil - Australia
    USA – France
    Spain - China
    Russia - Great Britain
    Argentina – Lithuania
     

    Tuesday, July 31

    China – Russia
    Australia - Spain
     Lithuania – Nigeria
    Great Britain - Brazil
    France - Argentina
    Tunisia - USA
     

    Thursday, August 2

    France – Lithuania
    Australia - China
    Argentina - Tunisia
    Brazil – Russia
    Spain – Great Britain
    USA - Nigeria
     

    Saturday, August 4

    Tunisia - France
    Russia - Spain
    Lithuania - USA
    China - Brazil
    Great Britain - Australia
    Nigeria - Argentina
     

    Monday, August 6

    Australia – Russia
    Tunisia – Lithuania
    France – Nigeria
    Great Britain - China
    Spain - Brazil
    Argentina - USA

    How will the Russians finish?

    The Russians will make it of the prelims but lose in the first of the medal rounds to the United States 111-75.