Already on Thursday, the Latvian national team will play in the 2023 World Cup qualifying match at Arena Riga, where it will face the Serbian national team.
“We’re ready to compete and show off our game. We’re in trouble in the preparation, but our focus is on the next game. Now we have to go on the field and show our desire to win such a high-class team. I hope the players enjoy every minute tomorrow.”
Only on Monday did the Latvian Basketball Union (LBS) announce that Artūrs Strautiņš, who was injured in the first test match against Lithuania, will not be able to help the national team in the upcoming qualifying games, but Jānis Bērziņš joined the national team, who just finished the season in the Greek championship.
“The situation with Artūrs Strautiņš is complicated because he will no longer be with the camp at this stage, and we had to make changes,” Banks said. “We added a player who became available at the last minute. Bērziņš joined the team on Sunday. We kept in touch with him during the last series.” Larisa was in the lead with 2-0, so we expected to be able to join us sooner. He proved that he has a great desire to help and participate in the Latvian national team. “
The banks pointed out that the absence of Rodionas Kurucs and Strautiņš in the team this time made the work of the coaches a bit more complicated, but the team has managed to adapt to the circumstances that arose.
“We have already proven that we are flexible enough. The most important thing is the team’s mental, physical, technical and tactical preparation for such an important match. Everyone must be ready to do everything on the field, because it doesn’t matter what position you have to play in, basketball. “
The Latvian national team held two test matches against Lithuania in preparation for the match against Serbia. In the first of them, Latvian basketball players won with 70:52, but in the second with success, Lithuanians won, destroying the Latvian national team with 98:62.
Banks avoided pointing to specific cases that were addressed after the loss against Lithuania, but pointed out that there were several.
“Both games helped,” the coach added. “Every moment matters in such a short preparation period. It was quite difficult to organize this preparation, because it is not easy to ask players to be here after the season at the club and train at the speed and intensity of the game. The second game was in a special environment. It also allowed us to analyze what our progress has been so far and what we can improve on in the next step. “
In the first qualifying match against Serbia, Latvia failed, losing 100: 101. Banks pointed out that the Serbian state unit plays physical basketball, which is an important element of their game.
“They have to expect the style of play that is recorded in their DNA, and this coach sends a clear message to players by choosing basketball players that match his style and identity. A high level of energy and aggression is expected, as well as a very physical game,” the coach said.
One of the stumbling blocks of the Latvian national team in both the match against Serbia and the second game against the Lithuanian national team was too many personal notes, and the Banks did not hide it either.
“We’re making remarks, and that’s a problem,” he said. “I’m more worried about teams that don’t take notes because I don’t like teams that play ‘soft.’ We’ve already proven that Latvia is not a ‘soft’ team.”
The Latvian men’s basketball team will host Serbia in the World Cup qualifying cycle on June 30 at Arena Riga and will visit Slovakia on July 3.