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 Additional Qualification of Eurobasket 2005     Estonia All Games and Stats

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Czech NT head coach Michal Jezdik announced the roster for the first game face Estonia in Rakvere as follow:

Pos.1: Maurice Whitfield, Petr Czudek, Jan Pavlik
Pos.2+3: Jiri Welsch, Pavel Milos, Lubos Barton, Ladislav Sokolovsky, Michal Kremen
Pos.4+5: Ondrej Starosta, Petr Benda, Zbyněk Pospíšil, Stanislav Votroubek

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Estonia: Sokk Unhappy With Defeat

Estonia coach Tiit Sokk was heavily critical of his players after watching them slump to a 75-57 defeat against the Czech Republic in their opening European Championship qualifier. Sokk's side failed to make the most of their home advantage and slumped to a convincing loss despite an 18-point haul from forward Martin Muursepp.

The win saw the Czechs move straight to the top of Group A and put them in a strong position to qualify for EuroBasket 2005.
"Some players forgot their role completely and just kept counting on two players," Sokk told SL Ohtuleht. "There was not enough co-operation. I also expected more from Tanel Tein. "I guess this is the current form we have. We started off well, but players were not ready to put up with the tense game for the whole 40 minutes.  "It will be even more difficult when we meet our next opponents away."
Muursepp, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of his coach and was frustrated to see his team-mates fail to build on a positive start to the match.

"We played a decent game for 18 minutes," he said. "After that we started losing the ball and became sloppy. "We could not stick to our combinations and passed the ball around too much." Guard Tein accepts that he was well short of his best. Tein spent 39 minutes on the court - longer than any of his team-mates - but scored just five points while collecting only three defensive rebounds. "I agree, I should have tried harder," he said. "Honestly, I am not in very good form right now. I tried, but I just could not last."
    FIBA Europe   22 August 2005

Kriisa Out For Estonia

Estonia have suffered a blow in their bid to qualify for EuroBasket 2005 with the loss of guard Valmo Kriisa to injury. As the rest of the team gets ready for their first qualifying game for the tournament against the Czech Republic on Friday, 1.90m Kriisa has returned to Holland to receive treatment for a hand injury. Kriisa plays for MPC Capitals Groningen.

"I am truly sorry about this as I really wanted to play for the team," Kriisa told Estonian daily newspaper SL Ohtuleht. "Unfortunately wanting is not enough." Kriisa picked up the problem in May during the last games for his club. He took a month's rest before joining the Estonian team for training, but injured his hand again in one of the recent practice games against Lithuania. "The doctors have examined the x-rays and it is not fully clear what we are going to do next," he continued. "I will try to give my hand a proper rest."

FIBA EUROPE 18.08.2005

Estonia: Kriisa Participation In Doubt

Estonia playmaker Valmo Kriisa's hand injury could force him to pull out of the EuroBasket additional qualifying round, according to Estonian paper SL Ohtuleht. Kriisa has been struggling with the hand injury since the start of the summer. After a month-long training break in July, he returned to the team but hurt his hand again in the game against Lithuania. "It does not feel good at all," said Kriisa. "I would not like to play the ball right now." He added that if it does not get any better in the next few days, it will be highly unlikely he will join the team for the qualifiers.

Kriisa also admitted that his home team Groningen had tried to talk him out of playing for the international games so he could recover in time for the domestic season. "So far I have tried to do it my own way and spend time in Estonia," he said. "But now who knows what will happen?"
The Estonian team will take part in more training matches before the qualifiers. This weekend they will meet Latvia, Finland and Sweden in the Baltic Tournament in Rakvere.

FIBA Europe 11.08.2005

Hvězda proti Čechům

TALLINN - Martin Muursepp, největší hvězda estonského basketbalu, přislíbil start v dodatečné kvalifikaci o postup na ME, ve které bude jeho mužstvo jedním ze soupeřů Česka. Jedenatřicetiletý kapitán reprezentace si po sezoně vzal čas na rozmyšlenou a nyní prý pod tlakem veřejnosti na svou účast v srpnových a zářijových bojích kývl. "Nemohu zklamat fanoušky, vždyť za mnou chodí i na ulici a ptají se, jestli budu hrát," řekl semifinalista Euroligy v barvách CSKA Moskva.

28.07.2005     Sokk Admits Estonia Need To Improve

Estonia head coach Tiit Sokk admitted his team still has a lot of work to do after losing to Israel twice, 83-71 and 74-61, on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Sokk said his side's main weakness was in defence even though it was an area he had emphasised during training camp. He said: "We didn't give our best effort defensively but I'm hopeful we can improve on that. "The biggest problem we have right now is a lack of experience. That's why playing against strong teams like Israel and Lithuania is good for us. It helps our development."

Point guard Valmo Kriisa pointed to what Israel did right - and what Estonia could look to improve. "Israel were in control at all times in offense. They didn't rush their shots. But they were also also active on defence, and I think that is how we need to play - at both ends of the court," he said.

Sokk's assistant Ullar Kerde, who headed the team when Estonia qualified for the 2001 European Championship tournament, explained it was important to show the reality of professional basketball to the young players. "These youngsters have been used to playing for nine months and resting for the other three. But these days, professional basketball is played all year round and there is no time to rest. Playing twelve months is the only way to improve." Kerde admitted some of the young players had complained about the gruelling training regiment but had been issued a stern warning by Sokk. Kerde said: "Tiit told them 'if I was able do it, you can do it as well.' He has a lot of examples he can point out to from his long and successful career and these players can only listen and learn from him."

Estonian star and former NBA player Martin Muursepp did not play in the two games, giving young forward Kristjan Kangur a chance to lead the way and the 23-year-old came through the baptism of fire with a mixed review from his coach. "Kristian took a leading role in the game, but he was not able to maintain it throughout," Sokk said. "There are some things he needs to work on, especially on the defensive end."


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