Recent struggles have denied Greece of a direct entry to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup but being one of the top-ranked teams in the world, Hellas earned a slot as a wildcard team in Spain to join the tournament held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14, 2014.
The Greek landed 11th at the 2013 FIBA Europe championship in Slovenia but are ranked No. 5 in the FIBA world rankings. In that continental championship, Greece won just four games in eight matches for a mediocre 4-4 record.
Greece has appeared in the world championships five times before and all resulted to respectable to impressive finishes.
Greece History at the FIBA World Cup: 10th place - 1986 (Spain) 6th place - 1990 (Argentina) 4th place- 1994 (Canada) 2nd place 2006 (Japan) 11th place - 2010 (Turkey)
Their most memorable campaign came in Japan in 2006 when they beat the mighty Team USA in the semifinals, 101-95. They lost the final against Spain, 70-47 but they got the attention of the basketball world as one of the Euro teams to beat from that silver medal finish.
Greece Roster for 2014 FIBA World Cup (Height, Position and Club Team) Vaggelis Mantzaris (6'5", point guard) - Olympiacos (HEBA A1, Greece) Kostas Sloukas (6'4", point guard) - Olympiacos (HEBA A1 Greece) Nick Calathes (6'6", guard) - Memphis Grizzlies (NBA, USA) Nikos Zisis (6'5", shooting guard) - Uniks Kazan (PBL, Russia) Kostas Vasileiadis (6'7", guard) - Anadolu Efes (TBL, Turkey) Kostas Kaimakoglou (6'9", power forward) - Uniks Kazan (PBL, Russia) Georgios Printezis (6'9", power forward) - Olympiacos (HEBA A1, Greece) Kostas Papanikolaou (6'8", small forward) - F.C. Barcelona (ACB Spain) Giannis Antetokounmpo (6'11", small forward) - Milwaukee Bucks (NBA, USA) Giannis Bourousis (7'1", center) - Real Madrid (ACB, Spain) Andreas Glyniadakis (7'0", center) - Lietuvos Rytas (LKL, Lithuania) Ian Vougioukas (7'0", center) - Uniks Kazan (PBL, Russia)
Gone from the team are guard Vasilis Spanoulis who led the team in scoring (16.6 points per game) at the 2013 Eurobasket and veteran forward Antonio Fotsis. Taking up the scoring load are center Giannis Bourousis, who logged in 11.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG and guard Nikos Zisis who averaged 10.4 PPG and 4.2 APG. Nick Calathes, who is a key bench player for the Grizzlies in the NBA, wasn’t with the team a year ago but is expected to provide veteran leadership for the squad.
Exhibition Games Pre-World Cup (5 wins, 3 losses): Greece 66, Serbia 64 France 81, Greece 73 Croatia 81, Greece 66 Lithuania 86, Greece 67 Greece 79, Slovenia 71 Greece 95, New Zealand 65 Greece 70, Turkey 56 Greece 76, Turkey 72
A total of 24 teams are participating in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and are divided into four groups. Greece belongs to Group B along with Argentina, Senegal, Puerto Rico, Philippines and Croatia. The group stage will feature a single round-robin among the teams in the group and four teams with the best records will advance to the Round of 16 knock-out round.
Greece Schedule for 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain Aug. 30 - Greece vs. Senegal Aug. 31 - Greece vs. Philippines Sept. 1 - Greece vs. Puerto Rico Sept. 3 - Greece vs. Croatia Sept. 4 - Greece vs. Argentina
Greece is 15-9 overall against teams from Group B. The Greek are 3-3 against Argentina; 4-5 against Croatia; 1-0 against Senegal; and 7-1 against Puerto Rico. They will meet the Philippines NT for the first time in international play.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup is the premier event of the international basketball body, FIBA and was known as the FIBA World Championship from 1950 to 2010. Along with Croatia and Argentina, Greece is favoured to be the leader in Group B.