Preview: KP, Willy, and Kuz Set for Action at EuroBasket 2017

As the summer is coming to close and the NBA regular season over a month away, Knicks fans won’t have to wait to get their fix of competitive basketball.  Today marks the start of the EuroBasket tournament featuring three members of the New York Knicks.

From August 31 to September 17, 24 international teams will compete in four host cities around the world for the coveted championship.  The qualified teams play in groups of six and the four best squads will advance to the single-elimination stage beginning on September 9.

Let’s take a look at the Knicks in action.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas
One of the most experienced international players on the Knicks roster is Mindaugas Kuzminskas or better known as “Kuuuuuz” among fans in New York.  Kuzminskas and his Lithuanian club won silver medals at the EuroBasket in 2015 and 2013.  The 6-9 Knicks forward is joined by Raptors starting center Jonas Valanciunas on a team that will begin its quest to the title on Thursday morning in Group B.

Schedule:
Thursday, August 31 Group Phase: Lithuania vs. Georgia 11:30 AM EST
City, Arena: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Arena

Saturday, September 2 Group Phase: Lithuania vs. Israel 2:30 PM EST
City, Arena: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Arena

Sunday, September 3 Group Phase: Lithuania vs. Italy 11:30 AM EST
City, Arena: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Arena

Tuesday, September 5 Group Phase: Lithuania vs. Ukraine 8:45 AM EST
City, Arena: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Arena

Wednesday, September 6 Group Phase: Lithuania vs. Germany 7:45 AM EST
City, Arena: Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Arena

Willy Hernangomez
Willy Hernangomez may only be 23 years old but the Spaniard owns four medals in international competition.  The Knicks big man won the gold medal at the Under 18 European Championship in 2011, captured the silver in the Under 20 European Championship, took home gold at the 2015 EuroBasket, and most recently the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.  His Spanish squad is considered one of the favorites to win the EuroBasket this year with a roster filled with NBA talent.  Pau and Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Alex Abrines, and Willy’s brother Juancho are poised to make some noise over the next couple of weeks.

Schedule:
Friday, September 1 Group Phase: Spain vs. Montenegro 10:45 AM EST
City, Arena: Cluj Napoca, Polyvalent Hall

Saturday, September 2 Group Phase: Spain vs. Czech Republic 10:45 AM EST
City, Arena: Cluj Napoca, Polyvalent Hall

Monday, September 4 Group Phase: Spain vs. Romania 1:30 PM EST
City, Arena: Cluj Napoca, Polyvalent Hall

Tuesday, September 5 Group Phase: Spain vs. Croatia 10:45 AM EST
City, Arena: Cluj Napoca, Polyvalent Hall

Thursday, September 7 Group Phase: Spain vs. Hungary 10:15 AM EST
City, Arena: Cluj Napoca, Polyvalent Hall

Kristaps Porzingis
The 7-3 rising star will make his EuroBasket debut with his native country team.  Kristaps Porzingis joins Latvia in Group D and will participate in their first contest on Friday.  The versatile forward/center averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks for the Knicks last season.  He also was named the Eurocup Rising Star in 2015, was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2016, and won the NBA Skills Challenge championship in February.  Porzingis and fellow NBA forward Davis Bertans are in a difficult group but some pundits feel the Latvian team is a dark horse to reach the single-elimination stage.

Schedule:

Friday, September 1 Group Phase: Latvia vs. Serbia 10:00 AM EST
City, Arena: Istanbul, Fenerbahce Arena

Saturday, September 2 Group Phase: Latvia vs. Belgium 7:15 AM EST
City, Arena: Istanbul, Fenerbahce Arena

Monday, September 4 Group Phase: Latvia vs. Great Britain 7:15 AM EST
City, Arena: Istanbul, Fenerbahce Arena

Tuesday, September 5 Group Phase: Latvia vs. Russia 7:15 AM EST
City, Arena: Istanbul, Fenerbahce Arena

Thursday, September 7 Group Phase: Latvia vs. Turkey 1:45 PM EST
City, Arena: Istanbul, Fenerbahce Arena

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