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France hand over keys to De Colo, Fournier for FIBA EuroBasket 2017

PARIS (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) – Vincent Collet is ready to hand over the national team keys to a new generation of France players, announcing a much-changed 18-player squad ahead of FIBA EuroBasket 2017.

Nando De Colo, Thomas Heurtel and Joffrey Lauvergne headline the candidate list that features only six players from last year’s Rio 2016 campaign, with Les Bleus embracing a step-by-step rejuvenation process after the retirement of the Old Guard.

12 Nando De Colo (FRA) - Serbia v France, 2016 Olympic Games: Tournament for Men (BRA), Rio de Janeiro - Carioca Arena 1 (Brazil), Group Phase, 10 August 2016
"We have an opportunity to start a new adventure with a lot of interesting talent," said Collet, who decided to bring 18 players to the initial training camp in Pau.

As France adjusts to life after Tony Parker, coach Collet will also be able to count on three more Olympic squad members in Antoine Diot, Kim Tillie and team captain Boris Diaw, who return to the lineup for another go around.

In spite of seeing many of his peers call it a day after the Quarter-Final exit to Spain at the Olympics, the 35-year-old Diaw made it clear he is not ready to hang up his sneakers just yet and will maintain a much-needed veteran presence in the locker room, with something to give on the court too.

France had to dig deeper into their talent pool than usual this summer, after Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert announced their unavailability, but there was some good news as well with NBA players Evan Fournier and Kevin Seraphin coming back to the national team.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia 76ers swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is set to make national team debut, bolstering coach Collet's two-way options on the perimeter.

"We lost some our defensive identity last year. The candidates selected to the list are there to bring it back. We have at least one defensive specialist in each position," explained Collet, while admitting that Gobert's presence will be particularly hard to compensate in this regard.

Having claimed medals in the past three editions of FIBA EuroBasket, it is no secret that the 2013 champions France will be aiming for a podium finish this year once again, even with some notable names missing.

Les Bleus will start their FIBA EuroBasket 2017 campaign in Helsinki, facing off against Greece, Iceland, Poland, Slovenia and the hosts Finland in Group A of the tournament.

Source: http://www.fiba.com/eurobasket/2017/news/france-hand-over-keys-to-de-colo-fournier-for-fiba-eurobasket-2017

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