Spain’s Calderon says Olympics men’s basketball tournament wide open
Rio de Janeiro, Aug 6 (IANS) Spanish point guard Jose Calderon has that the Rio Olympics men’s basketball tournament was up for grabs and that “in one game anyone can beat anyone”.
Spain is in Group B and will play its opening game against Croatia on Sunday evening, followed by contests against Brazil on Tuesday, Nigeria on Thursday, Lithuania on August 13 and Argentina on August 15, reports Tass.
“I think Croatia is a more important game than people may think. They’ve come from playing an Olympic qualifying tournament and they may be coming in with a little more rhythm than other teams,” the 34-year-old Calderon, a native of the southwestern province of Badajoz, said.
“I think they’re a team with a lot of talent, a young team, that can do damage. Although that youth – hopefully that’s the case – could be their weak point,” he added.
“We have a tough group in which anyone can beat anyone. And you have to be prepared,” Calderon, who has played in the NBA since 2005 and was recently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, said.
He added that the Spanish squad needs to lean on the international experience it has garnered over many years of playing together.
Asked if there was any favorite other than the superstar-laded U.S. squad, he said that “as things stand, there are lots of teams that can beat us and lots that we can beat.”
He also talked about the loss of center Marc Gasol, who is still recovering from the right-foot surgery he underwent earlier this year and was unable to make the trip to Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s clear that he’s a player we all would’ve like to have here and that he’s one of the best at his position. But he’s not here. And it’s up to all of us to replace that. He does lots of things, but we’ll play differently. We have different players,” Calderon said.
“We all have to pitch in, whether it’s rebounding, defense or passing, whatever. At the end of the day, the 12 players we have need to be prepared for whatever – to be on that floor and give everything we have,” he added.