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Interview with Roope Ahonen (Finnish NT) - Sep 4, 2013


POSTED BY:
IVAN MILENKOVIC
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Roope Ahonen
Finland national team arrived to Slovenia with 10 players that were in their roster at EuroBasket in Lithuania two years ago. Finns were failing to qualify for European Championships from 1997 to 2009 and then surprised Europe with 9th position at 2011 EuroBasket. Same names mean that they are more experienced, but older as well now. Finland will have the oldest player of the tournament (Hanno Mottola, born in 1976) and the oldest roster - 29.12 years is average age of their players.
Roope Ahonen (186-G-90, agency: FCM) is one of two new players in national team. Talented 23-year-old guard will add some fresh blood to this team that could surprise again! Eurobasket.com talked to him ahead of European Championships...

When have you started with preparations for EuroBasket and where did you spend your preparation period?

We started our preparations in late July and we practised mostly in Helsinki. In addition to the friendly games we had in Helsinki, we also travelled to France and Lithuania to play against France, Russia, Czech Republic and Lithuania.

Finland played 7 friendly games, most of other teams played more, do you think it was enough?

I think that the 7 friendly games we played were enough because our opponents were some of the best teams in Europe. We had good training camp and we improved our game constantly in the friendly games we played. So, I believe we are ready for EuroBasket.

Your team won two and lost five of those games, are you satisfied with team's performance in test games? What you need to improve in upcoming days before the start of competition?

I am satisfied with our performance in the friendly games even though we lost more than we won. The games we lost were tight, but we have to learn from those games that we can turn them to victories in coming games. Now we will have to focus on our own game, improve that a bit and trust our system. Some little details will be fixed to get our game in such a form that we will be ready for EuroBasket.

How do you feel ahead of your first EuroBasket?

I am honoured to represent Finland and I am very happy that I was chosen to be a part of the team. This has always been my dream and I'm excited to get to play these games. To play with such a great group of players and teammates will be great experience and I will do my best to help our team.

Finland will play in Group D, how do you rate your rivals - Russia, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Sweden?

All of the teams in our group are very tough. I believe any team can win any game so it's impossible to say how the games will go. Based on the friendly games I could say that Greece seems to be favourite.

Finnish national team surprised everyone at previous EuroBasket and finished 9th, what is your goal for upcoming tournament and which final position would satisfy you?

We will obviously try to improve from the previous EuroBasket so our goal is to be in top 8. I know there will be a lot of Finnish fans in Slovenia who will give us great support and help to success. We will play each game one by one and see how we will end up after first round. If all goes well we might suprise everyone again.   




Goran Dragic
Heat's Goran Dragic retiring from Slovenia team - 7 days ago
NBA guard Goran Dragic(190-PG-86) has confirmed he is retiring from the Slovenia team that won the European basketball championship. Dragic says on Tuesday, "I achieved what I wanted, the gold medal, and this is the right time to bid farewell." The 31-year-old Dragic led Slovenia with 35 points to beat Serbia 93-85 in the final on Sunday in Istanbul, earning the MVP award. He says Slovenia's qualifying campaign for the 2019 world championship will start in November, and it would be imposs...   [read more]

Goran Dragic
Eurobasket.com All-European Championships Awards 2017 - 9 days ago
Eurobasket.com All-European Championships 1st Team 2017
Goran Dragic
Dragic
Luka Doncic
Doncic
Alexey Shved
Shved
Bogdan Bogdanovic
Bogdanovic
Pau Gasol
Gasol
  
[read more]

Goran Dragic
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia top Serbia to celebrate title in Istanbul - 9 days ago
Slovenia - Serbia 93:85 Slovenia are the 2017 EuroBasket champions. They prevailed against Serbia in the dramatic clash to claim the historic title in Istanbul. Goran Dragic (190-PG-86) was pivotal for the champions with stellar performance of 35 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He was trumped the MVP. Serbia led throughout the bigger part of the first period. They ensured a 22:20 lead after ten minutes. But Slovenia led by Goran Dragic went firing from all guns in the second term. The...   [read more]


1 | 2 | 3
2017 EuroBasket: Spain capture Bronze medals with win over Russia - 9 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia hang on to defeat Russia, enter Final - 11 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Doncic, Slovenia roll to 92-72 semifinal win over Spain - 12 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia beat Italy, complete semifinal picture - 13 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia outlast Greece to advance into semifinal - 13 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia enter semifinals, win shootout with Latvia - 14 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain outlast Germany, enter semifinal stage - 14 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia cruise past Croatia, into quarterfinal stage - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain overwhelm Turkey in Istanbul - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Serbia prevail against Hungary, reach quarterfinals - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Latvia shoot lights out to hammer Montenegro - 16 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Konstantinos Sloukas leads Greece past Lithuania - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Italy rally past Finland in Round of 16 clash - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Germany survive thriller against France - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia ease past Ukraine, enter quarterfinals - 17 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Latvia upset Turkey, clinch second place in Group D - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Russia edge Great Britain - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Boban Marjanovic leads Serbia past Belgium - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Spain cruise past Hungary, finish preliminary round unbeaten - 19 days ago  
2017 EuroBasket: Croatia cruise past Czech Republic in Cluj Napoca - 19 days ago  
1 | 2 | 3

Men Women

European Championships Final Standings
 1. Slovenia
 2. Serbia
 3. Spain
 4. Russia
 5. Latvia
 6. Germany
 7. Italy
 8. Greece
 9. Lithuania
 10. Croatia
 11. Finland
 12. France
 13. Montenegro
 14. Turkey
 15. Ukraine
 16. Hungary
 17. Georgia
 18. Poland
 19. Belgium
 20. Czech Rep.
 21. Israel
 22. U.Kingdom
 23. Romania
 24. Iceland
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
 Alexey SHVED
  (198-G-88)
  Avg: 24.3
 1. Shved, RUS24.3 
 2. Schroeder, GER23.7 
 3. Porzingis, LAT23.6 
 4. Dragic, SLO22.6 
 5. Bogdanovic, CRO22.5 
 6. Bogdanovic, SRB20.4 
 7. Markkanen, FIN19.5 
 8. Shengelia, GEO18.8 
 9. Belinelli, ITA17.9 
 10. Howell, ISR17.8 
Rebounds Per Game
 Jonas VALANCIUNAS
  LTU
  (213-C-92)
  Avg: 11.8
 1. Valanciunas, LTU11.8 
 2. Olaseni, ENG11.4 
 3. Pachulia, GEO9.2 
 4. Doncic, SLO8.3 
 5. Vucevic, MNT7.7 
 6. Gasol, ESP7.6 
 7. Shengelia, GEO7.6 
 8. Mozgov, RUS7.4 
 9. Moldoveanu, ROM7.3 
 10. Gasol, ESP7.2 
Assists Per Game
 Mantas KALNIETIS
  LTU
  (195-PG-86)
  Avg: 7.2
 1. Kalnietis, LTU7.2 
 2. Rodriguez, ESP6.6 
 3. Satoransky, CZE6.4 
 4. Strelnieks, LAT6.3 
 5. Koponen, FIN6.2 
 6. Shved, RUS5.9 
 7. Schroeder, GER5.4 
 8. Jovic, SRB5.4 
 9. Lukashov, UKR5.3 
 10. Bertans, LAT5.3 
Steals Per Game
 Richard HOWELL
  USA
  (203-C/F-90)
  Avg: 3.3
 1. Howell, ISR3.3 
 2. Lukashov, UKR2.0 
 3. Osman, TUR2.0 
 4. Mandache, ROM2.0 
 5. Belinelli, ITA2.0 
 6. Jovic, SRB1.9 
 7. Satoransky, CZE1.8 
 8. Rubio, ESP1.8 
 9. De-Colo, FRA1.8 
 10. Dragic, SLO1.7 
Blocks Per Game
 Kristaps PORZINGIS
  LAT
  (221-C/F-95)
  Avg: 1.9
 1. Porzingis, LAT1.9 
 2. Pustovyi, UKR1.7 
 3. Gasol, ESP1.6 
 4. Gasol, ESP1.4 
 5. Vidmar, SLO1.3 
 6. Randolph, SLO1.3 
 7. Barovic, MNT1.2 
 8. Bender, CRO1.2 
 9. Vucevic, MNT1.2 
 10. Saric, CRO1.0 
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