|Ocampo is happy with the number of big players on the team, but it's a point guard, Sergi Costa, member of the 2011 bronze medal-winning team, that could be the leader of the 2012 Spain U16 side |
Spain coach Diego Ocampo is excited about the make-up of his preliminary squad for the U16 European Championship in Latvia and Lithuania but is also dreading the day that he will have to make final cuts.
Only one player, Sergi Costa, is back from the 2011 side that captured bronze.
"With respect to last year's team we have a team of tall players like (Borja) Soriano, (Carlos) Martinez and Marc Bauza, who are above two metres," Ocampo said, who has had his squad in training for 10 days.
"We have two players who are 2.10m (Sergio Mendiola and Ander Perez). These two players have not yet matured physically and we will have to be patient.
"But they have an aptitude that is not usual in Spanish basketball. In terms of our exterior play, we have playerrs that are close to two metres tall and allow us to develop our physical play but they are also capable of controlling the ball and shooting."
So far, practices have gone well.
"We have worked normally, with a lot of training sessions," the coach said.
"The players are doing a good job and for the time being, we've had no injuries with the exception of Carlos Martinez, who arrived with an injury and was only given the all clear by his club (Caja Laboral Baskonia) yesterday."
This is Ocampo's third summer with the U16.
"The aim is always to improve and get the best team possible," he said.
"Perhaps the best players don't go but the best team does.
"We have to arrive to the first game at the European Championship in the best possible way."
As for the 18 players training with the team, Ocampo said: "The most difficult time for me it's when I have to discard players.
"Even if the aim is to improve, all the players want to play at the European Championship because it is a vital experience.
"The first thing we try to do is not to rest important on those that are not on the list.
"Then we explain to them that it is not due to the fact that they are better or worse, but it's a technical decision based on certain criteria."