Spain’s Juancho Hernangomez and Willy Hernangomez are the players that Canada’s Dillon Brooks is most concerned about as the teams prepare for their showdown on Sunday, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. It’s a high-stakes meeting that will determine who will move on to the quarterfinals and who will be eliminated, and although both nations have rosters loaded with NBA players, Brooks believes the Hernangomez brothers have many ways to control the game.
“They create a lot of mismatches for their team and the other teams,” Brooks said. “We got to match up their physicality and play harder than them.”
Neither team expected to be on the brink of elimination so early, but things changed on Friday as Spain lost to Latvia while Canada fell to Brazil, setting up Sunday’s do-or-die contest. Brooks’ teammate, RJ Barrett, is worried about the advantage that Spain has through more exposure to international competition.
“Their biggest thing is their experience,” Barrett said. “Many of them are EuroLeague champions. They have guys who’ve been playing FIBA basketball basically their whole lives. That’s what we’re going up against.”
There’s more on the World Cup:
- Australia needs to evaluate its national team after being knocked out early, contends Olgun Uluc of ESPN. The Australians’ efforts to mix older and younger talent haven’t been successful, Uluc adds, and his solution is to build the team around Josh Giddey, with Patty Mills, Josh Green and Jock Landale holding the only other guaranteed spots for the 2024 Olympics. “I think we’re in the process of change, and style of play — both offensively and defensively — and we’re all disappointed but I’m excited where this thing can go,” coach Brian Goorjian said after his team was eliminated by Slovenia. “Definitely a clearer picture after playing this tournament.” Goorjian’s contract expires after the World Cup, but he’s expected to coach the Boomers in the Olympics, according to Uluc.
- Finland appears headed to a pre-Olympic qualifier after defeating Venezuela on Saturday, according to Eurohoops. Lauri Markkanen scored 32 points as Finland picked up its second victory of the tournament.
- A two-point loss to New Zealand on Saturday prevented Egypt from earning an automatic Olympic bid, per NetsDaily. The team, which features Brooklyn training camp invite Patrick Gardner, will have to earn a spot through next summer’s qualifying tournament.