Written by Antonis Strogelakis / email@example.com
France star Yvan Fournier has called on FIBA to change the EuroBasket program so players can have more time to rest and recover amid a hectic schedule that includes high-intensity back-to-back matches, sometimes with less than 24 hours between them.
“It’s EuroBasket and we’ve got two back-to-backs. Back-to-back is very difficult. Back-to-back in the NBA and back-to-back in EuroBasket are two different things,” Fournier said. When you play at 20:30, you usually sleep around 3:00. It’s a real big challenge. To be fair, it’s the same for everyone. It would be great if FIBA could change that to allow us to be more comfortable between matches.”
Fournier made the comments after noon training on Monday, the day after France beat a tough Hungarian team to advance to 2-1 in Group B. He played 33 and 27 minutes respectively in these two games.
The New York Knicks The swingman has played dozens of consecutive games throughout his NBA career so far, and he’s used to getting on the floor for several minutes on consecutive days. But there is no comparison between the NBA regular season game and the EuroBasket group stage.
Five matches are played in a seven-day period to determine the top four out of six teams in each group that will advance to the knockout stage. The final ranking position may matter a lot in the long run to avoid any strong opponent. It’s a high-risk situation in a very short period of time and matches can have a do-or-die character early on.
There is also the cruelty of every confrontation, because the rules in Europe are more lenient when it comes to fouls and physical contact. Speaking to Eurohoops, veteran NBA coach Mike Brown expressed his amazement at how physically fit EuroBasket is.
“We have fewer games here,” said Fournier. “Every match is more important. From the first minute to the last minute, you play hard. Physically, it’s a big challenge. We’re about to do the second rematch. So four games in five nights? It’s tough or rough.”
Fournier and France prepare to face Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fourth round, and it will be a rematch in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers as Bosnia beat Olympic silver medalists in Sarajevo.
This provides a little extra motivation for Fournier and the company but he believes his team’s overall priorities should be different.
“There will be a mentality where we want to take it back,” Fournier admitted. “But the most important thing since we qualified is how we play. Are we going to develop a game that we can take in the eighth final and be confident. The most important is how we play.”
“No one wants to lose to a team twice. But not the main goal tomorrow is… ‘Wow we’re going to kill them,’” Fournier joked. “We have to play our game and develop good habits. Be disciplined.”
Bosnia was responsible for one of the biggest upsets at the European Basketball Championship, thanks to its victory over defending champion Slovenia. They forced Luka Doncic, Goran Dragic and the rest of the champions to their first defeat after 11 consecutive victories in the European Basketball Championship.
This result was described as “shocking”, “astonishing” and other things. Fournier, who did not watch the match when asked about it, will not go there.
“This is not a surprise,” said Fournier. “They play with a big heart. It’s like they have their shirts up when they play for the TAM national team. They almost missed EuroBasket because of issues like budget etc. They have something to play for. They want to make their fans proud. And I think it’s beautiful. It looks like It’s like they’re playing with extra motivation.”
France has a lot of untapped potential and Fournier hopes his team will continue to build to really raise the bar when the knockout matches begin in Berlin.
“We have ways to go. But you know, it’s a tough group. Even a team like Slovenia… Nobody really controls. Every game has its own story, it’s different. That’s why I keep saying that what’s important is how to keep playing better. In At the end of the day, the competition begins in Berlin. We want to improve, we want to learn from our mistakes and we will take them from here.”
Photo: FIBA basketball