Blatt hopes Russia receive wild card for Turkey
The mood in Russian basketball is nowhere near as upbeat as two years ago, when Andrei Kirilenko, JR Holden and Viktor Khryapa spearheaded an unlikely run to the EuroBasket gold medal in Spain. All three were absent this year and Russia finished seventh, thus missing out on qualification for next year’s FIBA World Championship in Turkey by just one place.
Russia coach David Blatt knows that four wild cards are to be handed out by FIBA in December, and he’s hoping that his team receives one.
“I’m relatively apolitical,” Blatt said. “I don’t get behind decisions of that nature. I don’t know how the process works. If we are talking about merit, for another team in Europe to be represented, traditionally, historically, there aren’t many better teams to choose than us. The performance my team gave this year was more than admirable. I honestly think it will be a crime if we don’t get it. I hope it’s not a political decision.”