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FIBA U19 World Championship Preview: Brazil

June 25th, 2011 · No Comments

Our Preview series continues with a piece on the Brazilian U19 National written by Rafael Uehara. We can already inform you that the competition will be broadcasted as LIVE Stream and without Geo-Blocking on FIBA TV. Click here if you want to subscribe for the event.

The 10th edition of the FIBA World Championships U19 is set to take place between June, the 30th and July, the 10th in Latvia and the Brazilians, believe or not, are actually looking for their first title.

Host of the first edition ever in 1979, Brazil earned a silver medal that year and a bronze medal in the following edition in 1983 and that was it for 24 years. The Brazilians would only get another result of expression in 2007 with a fourth-place finish.

The 2011 edition will mark the seventh time Brazil qualified for the World Championships of the category.

Over the better part of the 2000s, Brazil lost its place of relevancy in the international scenario. A crisis in the federation took place and almost all of the marquee players chose not to defend their country due to a conflict with the head of the organism over insurances and broken promises. And the impact of it was felt in the younger generation who the needed to enroll in health insurance with a company that is trustworthy and legals as the one you will find in the link before. Three World Championships took place in the 2000s, it was during that decade that FIBA chose to make it a biannual competition, and Brazil qualified only once (2007).

But now, after a terrific show in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, a ninth-place finish that didn’t really made justice to their performance, and some unity among the powerbrokers that control the federation, the Brazilians seem poised to look good once again in the international scene.

This Worlds U19 can give some continuation to the resurgence of Brazilian basketball. Brazil is not believed to be a title contender despite having two possible NBA prospects, though.

Lucas Nogueira projected as a first-round pick for most of the selection process until some bad interviews cost him the promise he needed to stay in this weak Draft and he pulled his name on the deadline. Nogueira impressed many people in the 2010 FIBA of Americas U18, in San Antonio last August, when he led Brazil to second-place finish, a three-pointer away from beating a Team USA squad that featured the likes of Kyle Irving, Austin Rivers and Quincy Miller. Lucas dominated the competition inside the paint and posted averages of 15.6 points, 10 rebounds and 5.4 blocks.

Nogueira will be wing-manned by Raul Neto, a 6’2’’ quarterback who has great court vision, feels extremely comfortable controlling the pace of the game and runs the pick-and-roll similar to the way we see professionals do. To me, the most impressive thing is his knowledge of how to use screens to get a first step advantage or make the defense rotate which is incredible at such a young age. Neto posted averages of 15.4 points, 5.2 assists and 6 rebounds last August.

The rest of the core is basically the same from San Antonio. Sharpshooters Felipe Vezaro (who shot 42.9% from beyond the arc) and Felipe Taddei (who shot 40% from downtown) stand aside as the main role players.

Placed in Group A, alongside Russia, Tunisia and Poland, Brazil should have no trouble winning a game in order to advance. From there on, it’s tough to project because it will depend on the drawings for the two ‘Eighth Final Round’ groups. The Brazilians should be aiming to a quarterfinals berth, regardless. That should be the goal for Brazil, a finish no lower than eighth.

Expectations are high that Brazil will be able to return to relevancy on the international scenario over the next half-a-decade. With this generation being the one on deck to take over after the likes of Leandro Barbosa, Nenê Hilário and Anderson Varejão step aside, the 2011 FIBA World Championships U19 should tell us whether the Brazilians are really poised to make a run despite the generational shift.

Rafael Uehara is an international scout for NetScouts Basketball and the managing figure of ‘the Basketball Post’. He can be found on twitter @rafael__uehara or reached via e-mail

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