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Latest update: 08/06/2009 18:17 +0300

BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Jump Ball At the XIII GSSE

NICOSIA, 1 June 2009 - Basketball tips off in the XIII Games of the Small States of Europe, Tuesday, with Luxembourg, Iceland, Malta, Cyprus, San Marino and Andorra in the Men's tournament and Luxembourg, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus in the Women's event.

History proclaims some clear favourites. Traditionally, Iceland has more basketball quality than any other country, despite the fact that the Menís National team of Cyprus has won 6 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals. Logi Gunnarsson, a guard playing for Gijon in Spain, is considered Iceland's best player, with 10 points per game in European competitions. Malta also has its star, center Marco Matijevic, with Serbian roots.

On the opening day of the Men's competition, San Marino play against Andorra in a game that will show a sign of their strength and capabilities.

Cyprus-Luxemburg (at 20:30 local time; 17:30 GMT) makes a tough premiere for both teams. Luxemburg came to Cyprus without a tall man. The roster includes players of the local league, as well as athletes who study and play in the USA (NCAA). Larry Smith (34, 1.95m), playing the 3-4 positions, is the local league's seventh-best scorer. In their last practice matches before the GSSE, Luxemburg beat Albania three times in friendly games.

Cyprus has prepared by playing some friendly games in Novi Sad, Serbia and according to both players and coaches, a good team spirit has been established during these matches. The players have promised to do their best and have invited fans to come to their games and help them.

In the Women's tournament at the XIII GSSE, Iceland and Malta play against each other at 12:00. Traditionally, Iceland has been a better team, with playmaker Helena Sverrisdottir (21, 1.84m) being its best player. Malta has two stars, center Josephine Grima (27, 1.95m) who plays in Italy, and Rebecca Thoresen, originally from Australia.

Cyprus plays at 18:00 local time (15:00 GMT) against Luxemburg, having shown some good signs during its preparation at Pravec, Bulgaria. The fans can be a great help for the girls, who have not played an official game since 2003, participating then at the GSSE in Malta.

Luxemburg has made improvements the last few years, due to a successful development program.

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XIII GSSE CYPRUS 2009 Organising Committee
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