Russia Basketball Federation president, Andrei Kirilenko, has warned his nation’s team to be smart and tactical when they face Nigeria’s D’Tigers in the group stages of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, reports Completesports.com.
Kirilenko a former Russian basketball player insists that there should be no room for error when they take on Argentina, Korea, and Nigeria in the group stages of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
He admits the only way they could advance from Group B is to hit the ground running and bring their A-game each time out or they will risk an early exit.
“In the World Cup, you sleep one quarter and you’re done,” Kirilenko told FIBA.com.
“The Nigeria team, very athletic, strong physically. We can’t start playing a physical game with them.
“We have to be smart, slow it down a little bit. Play it very tactical. And the Korea team, very fast, a lot of 3-point shooters.
“On the best day, you’re going to be killed by the distance. So we have to close the distance, not let them run a lot, put them under the basket. It’s a tactician game. All three teams present a different kind of menace.
“Argentina, a very experienced team.”
“Argentina is obviously the biggest menace for us, a very experienced team, always hustling, always tough players that know how to play basketball.”
Kirilenko was a member of the Russian team that beat the D’Tigers 85-77 in the Qualification Tournament (OQT) to clinch a spot at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Should Russia get to the knockout round, Kirilenko expressed confidence that anything is possible.
“Looking at the age of our team, the average age of 30, potentially we can fight for a medal.
“For them (veterans), it’s a great chance to show themselves, and try and get something out of this group and bring a medal home. It’s looking like it’s probably going to be the best World Cup ever in basketball, a lot of attention, so it’s a great chance for those guys.
“I’m going to be very disappointed if we don’t make it out of the (First Round) group.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.