FIBA picks Greece, Turkey, two others for wildcard spots in world championships

Ersan Ilyasova in Orlando this week ((Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images))
Ersan Ilyasova in Orlando this week ((Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images))

FIBA announced today that Greece and Turkey were among the four wildcard teams added to the 24-team FIBA Basketball World Cup scheduled for this summer.  According to their press release,

At its meeting on 1 February 2014, FIBA’s Central Board decided to award the four wild cards for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup to Brazil (#10 in FIBA Ranking Men), Finland (#39), Greece (#5) and Turkey (#7).

For the Bucks, this development means that Ersan Ilyasova and Giannis Antetokounmpo may be invited to international play this summer.  The tournament takes place August 30 – September 14, 2014.  NBA training camps usually start with a media day around October 1.

Last summer, Ilyasova played for the Turkish team in Eurobasket.  The team finished with a disappointing 1-4 record that left them tied for 17th place in a 24-team field. Ilyasova averaged 12.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

Antetokounmpo played for Greece in the Under-20 European Championship prior to the start of the Bucks’ 2013-14 season. Giannis was part of the reason for his team’s hot start in pool play, but the team lost in the quarterfinals to Spain before eventually finishing in 5th place. When asked about his experience in international play earlier this season, Giannis said,

“It was the first time I was representing my country, so it was nice. It went pretty well — we got 5th place — but I believe if we do it again this year, maybe we’ll be better.”

The 24 men’s national teams participating in the tournament are: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Iran, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States.

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