Puerto Rico officially announced its national preselection on Saturday en route to the Olympic playoffs, to be played from June 29 to July 4, in Serbia.
In the midst of a dispute between their coach, players and even the federative entity itself, the Puerto Rican team summoned a team of promising youngsters -some already anticipated that they will not play- along with other veterans with experience in Europe and the NBA, although not their captain and experienced base, Jose Juan Barea.
Neither does the former member of UConn and several NBA teams, Shabazz Napier, who debuted with the Caribbean in the last FIBA window.
The list is headed by point guard Gary Browne, guard Gian Clavell, forward Isaiah Piñeiro and center Tyler Davis, among others.
Illinois guard Andre Curbelo, as well as point guard Jhivvan Jackson, who is the grandson of legendary coach Flor Melendez, were invited, but will not participate due to personal commitments.
Barea, who played with Estudiantes in Spain after being released by the Dallas Mavericks, said in February in an interview with the radio commentator on the island, Héctor De Playmaker, that current coach Eddie Casiano should leave the Puerto Rican quintet. He assured that things were not working and that a change was needed.
From there, players like Ramón Clemente and Javier Mojica, joined others like Ángel Rodríguez, Most Valuable of the recent local league Final, in retiring from the National Team.
The training list is completed by Emmanuel Andújar, Devon Collier, George Conditt IV, Jorge Bryan Díaz, Iván Gandía, Christopher Ortiz, Isaac Sosa, Timajh Parker-Rivera, José Rodríguez, Haanif Cheatham, Alfonso Plummer and Phillip Wheeler. Meanwhile, the participation of David Huertas is not entirely clear.
Puerto Rico belongs to Group B in Belgrade, along with Italy and Senegal. The first two teams of each ‘key’ advance to the semifinals. The other group is made up of Serbia, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines, which replaced New Zealand. Only one ticket to Tokyo will be awarded.