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Ivan Milenkovic

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Interview with Roope Ahonen (Finnish NT) - Sep 4, 2013


POSTED BY:
IVAN MILENKOVIC
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Roope Ahonen
Finland national team arrived to Slovenia with 10 players that were in their roster at EuroBasket in Lithuania two years ago. Finns were failing to qualify for European Championships from 1997 to 2009 and then surprised Europe with 9th position at 2011 EuroBasket. Same names mean that they are more experienced, but older as well now. Finland will have the oldest player of the tournament (Hanno Mottola, born in 1976) and the oldest roster - 29.12 years is average age of their players.
Roope Ahonen (186-G-90, agency: FCM) is one of two new players in national team. Talented 23-year-old guard will add some fresh blood to this team that could surprise again! Eurobasket.com talked to him ahead of European Championships...

When have you started with preparations for EuroBasket and where did you spend your preparation period?

We started our preparations in late July and we practised mostly in Helsinki. In addition to the friendly games we had in Helsinki, we also travelled to France and Lithuania to play against France, Russia, Czech Republic and Lithuania.

Finland played 7 friendly games, most of other teams played more, do you think it was enough?

I think that the 7 friendly games we played were enough because our opponents were some of the best teams in Europe. We had good training camp and we improved our game constantly in the friendly games we played. So, I believe we are ready for EuroBasket.

Your team won two and lost five of those games, are you satisfied with team's performance in test games? What you need to improve in upcoming days before the start of competition?

I am satisfied with our performance in the friendly games even though we lost more than we won. The games we lost were tight, but we have to learn from those games that we can turn them to victories in coming games. Now we will have to focus on our own game, improve that a bit and trust our system. Some little details will be fixed to get our game in such a form that we will be ready for EuroBasket.

How do you feel ahead of your first EuroBasket?

I am honoured to represent Finland and I am very happy that I was chosen to be a part of the team. This has always been my dream and I'm excited to get to play these games. To play with such a great group of players and teammates will be great experience and I will do my best to help our team.

Finland will play in Group D, how do you rate your rivals - Russia, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Sweden?

All of the teams in our group are very tough. I believe any team can win any game so it's impossible to say how the games will go. Based on the friendly games I could say that Greece seems to be favourite.

Finnish national team surprised everyone at previous EuroBasket and finished 9th, what is your goal for upcoming tournament and which final position would satisfy you?

We will obviously try to improve from the previous EuroBasket so our goal is to be in top 8. I know there will be a lot of Finnish fans in Slovenia who will give us great support and help to success. We will play each game one by one and see how we will end up after first round. If all goes well we might suprise everyone again.   




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Men Women

European Championships Standings
Group A
 1. Finland 0-0 
 2. France 0-0 
 3. Greece 0-0 
 4. Iceland 0-0 
 5. Poland 0-0 
 6. Slovenia 0-0 
Group B
 1. Georgia 0-0 
 2. Germany 0-0 
 3. Israel 0-0 
 4. Italy 0-0 
 5. Lithuania 0-0 
 6. Ukraine 0-0 
Group C
 1. Croatia 0-0 
 2. Czech Rep. 0-0 
 3. Spain 0-0 
 4. Hungary 0-0 
 5. Montenegro 0-0 
 6. Romania 0-0 
Group D
 1. Belgium 0-0 
 2. U.Kingdom 0-0 
 3. Latvia 0-0 
 4. Russia 0-0 
 5. Serbia 0-0 
 6. Turkey 0-0 
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Vojdan STOJANOVSKI
  MKD
  (194-G-87)
  Avg: 28
 1. Stojanovski, Vojdan28.0 
 2. Veideman, Rain24.0 
 3. Hanga, Adam23.0 
 4. Gomes, Joao22.0 
 5. Dragic, Goran21.0 
 6. Vojvoda, David20.5 
 7. de Jong, Worthy19.5 
 8. Nurkic, Jusuf19.0 
 9. Lawrence, Andrew19.0 
 10. Hermannsson, Mart.17.5 
Rebounds Per Game
 Jusuf NURKIC
  BIH
  (213-C-94)
  Avg: 15
 1. Nurkic, Jusuf15.0 
 2. Gomes, Joao10.5 
 3. Baeringsson, Hlynur9.5 
 4. Todorovic, Marko9.0 
 5. Karasev, Sergey9.0 
 6. Iarochevitch, Ioa.8.0 
 7. Shengelia, Tornike7.5 
 8. Tumba, Kevin7.0 
 9. Gordon, Ben7.0 
 10. Fesenko, Kyrylo7.0 
Assists Per Game
 Goran DRAGIC
  SLO
  (190-PG-86)
  Avg: 8.5
 1. Dragic, Goran8.5 
 2. Lypovyy, Oleksandr7.5 
 3. Tsintsadze, Giorgi7.5 
 4. Gordon, Ben6.5 
 5. Mihailovic, Vladim.5.5 
 6. Vojvoda, David5.5 
 7. Travis, Romeo5.5 
 8. Vilhjalmsson, Hord.5.0 
 9. Tabu, Jonathan5.0 
 10. Velikov, Asen5.0 
Steals Per Game
 Derek NEEDHAM
  USA
  (180-PG-90)
  Avg: 4
 1. Needham, Derek4.0 
 2. Dorbek, Martin3.5 
 3. Keller, Akos3.0 
 4. Baburin, Evgenii3.0 
 5. Hajrizi, Drilon3.0 
 6. Obasohan, Retin3.0 
 7. Broadus, Rashaun3.0 
 8. Tumba, Kevin2.5 
 9. Barroso, Tomas2.5 
 10. Kostov, Chavdar2.5 
Blocks Per Game
 Vyacheslav BOBROV
  UKR
  (201-F-92)
  Avg: 2
 1. Bobrov, Vyacheslav2.0 
 2. Kulagin, Dmitrii2.0 
 3. Panteli, Iakovos1.5 
 4. Zipser, Paul1.5 
 5. Benzing, Robin1.5 
 6. Palsson, Haukur1.5 
 7. Hajrizi, Drilon1.5 
 8. Bergstedt, Jonas1.5 
 9. Kitsing, Kristjan1.0 
 10. Mahalbasic, Rasid1.0 
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