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Latvian star Porzingis to help national team at FIBA EuroBasket 2017
LIEPAJA (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Latvia got the good news they were waiting for, as New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis announced he is ready to help the country's national team at FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
In a press conference in his hometown of Liepaja, the 21-year-old big man confirmed he intends to make his senior debut for the Ainars Bagatskis-coached team after sitting out the last couple of summers.
Sarauj Latvija!!! 🇱🇻🇱🇻🇱🇻— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) April 24, 2017
Jānis izskatās ka arī negaidīja manu paziņojumu.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/9PCR6FGxjR
"Every summer has been important to me throughout my career. It's important for me to be ready for next season. I start training right away. But I've made a decision to play for the national team this summer," Porzingis said.
The player, who last played for Latvia in the 2013 FIBA U18 European Championship, missed FIBA EuroBasket 2015 and elected not to play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Belgrade last summer.
It has been four years since Porzingis last played for Latvia at any level
However, according to Porzingis, committing to play for the national team wasn't a hard decision to make this summer.
"I made the final decision after the season. I'm excited. It wasn't a hard choice to make, I had thought it about it from time to time during the season. I know that it will be a hard summer, but it will work out for the best next year," the big man told media.
In spite of missing time due to minor injuries, Porzingis continued to excel during the course of his sophomore NBA campaign with the Knicks, upping his numbers to 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Skills challenge W!!! pic.twitter.com/vmaDFnwySY— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) February 19, 2017
"Right now, I will devote my full attention to the national team and won't think about my third season with the Knicks. I'll start thinking about preparing for the new season closer to training camp after all the national team games are over," the Latvian star noted.
The addition of Porzingis gives the already talent-packed Latvian roster the superstar they were always looking for and bolsters the team's chances against Belgium, Great Britain, Russia, Serbia and the hosts Turkey in tough Group D of the FIBA EuroBasket 2017.