Iceland’s men basketball team will represent their country at the Eurobasket 2017, for the second time in Iceland’s history. We are all acquainted with their soccer team and their famous haka after the last European Championship, but what about the basketball team?
The first time Iceland made it to the Eurobasket was in 2015, but they did not win any games. For Eurobasket 2017, they qualified as one of the best runner-ups in the qualification poules. Though this is only the second time for Iceland at Eurobasket, they do quite well at the Games of the Small States of Europe, a two-yearly event. The last three times, Iceland won bronze twice and silver once. In 2007 they even won the gold medal.
The team consists of some great players, among which is the shooting guard, Martin Hermannson, who is playing for Charleville-Mézières in France. This year, he was selected for the LNB Pro B All-First Team, while being the runner up for the MVP Awards to D.J. Cooper, an American Guard. As a 21-year-old player, he already played great at Eurobasket 2015, and after the season he had, an impressive performance could be expected of the young guard.
The same can be said about Jón Arnór Stefánsson, a veteran member of the Icelandic squad. He has had a great career, playing in Spain, Italy, and Russia. Last season, he returned to his home country to KR, which was the club where he started his career. This does not mean he is slowing down, as he was named the 2017 playoffs MVP and his team won the championship. Together with some new talents that have joined the team, Iceland should be positive going into Eurobasket 2017.
This does not mean that the team will have an easy time making it through to the next round. In the group phase, they will have to compete with teams as France, Greece, Poland, Slovenia, and Finland. Their preparation for this important tournament will start on Sunday, August 20th. Following the preparation, the Icelanders will play their first game on August 31st against Greece and the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.