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23/10/2013
Victor Claver (ESP) - EuroBasket 2013

PORTLAND (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Victor Claver has returned to the NBA a much more confident player ahead of the 2013-14 campaign after shining for Spain at EuroBasket 2013.

Given a prominent role for the first time in his national team career, Claver embraced the uncustomary position of power forward and helped the squad reach the podium for the seventh time in the past eight European Championships.

While the Spaniards had wanted a third successive title triumph, they settled for a decisive victory in the Third-Place Game against Croatia.

The 2.05m Claver averaged 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game.

He signed off with with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks in the 92-66 triumph over the Croatians.

"It was important for me," Claver said of the EuroBasket.

"I've been in the national team for a long time and I didn't have a chance to play that much and when I did, it was hard for me."

Claver says the opportunity to play for Spain, and the experience gained during his rookie campaign in Portland, will aid him as he looks to establish himself with the Trail Blazers.

"It's going to help me play with more confidence because to play for the national team is very important for me," he said.

"Now that I know how the NBA goes, I'm going to be ready and with more experience."

In Slovenia at the EuroBasket, the lack of size on Spain's frontline led to coach Juan Antonio Orenga inserting Claver at the power forward spot.

While he still showed his jump-shooting skills, including a seven-of-22 (31.8%) effort from the arc in the tournament, the 25-year-old spent most of his time in the lane on defense giving the squad a combative presence.

"I tried to do more things, not only shoot," he said.

"I had to play with Marc (Gasol) a lot of minutes and he's very smart and he wants to play for the team (not just himself).

"It was very easy for me, even if I don't usually play as a four.

"The coach asked me to help the team with rebounds and playing fast, and that's what I tried to do."

It remains to be seen how Claver will fit in with respect to the squad for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The likelihood is that front-court stars Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Felipe Reyes will return to the squad after taking this summer off.

Claver can enhance his World Cup prospects with a solid NBA campaign.

He has a very clear aim going into the season.

"To help the team from the beginning," he said.

"Last season, the first month was hard for me because I wasn't playing too much and at the end of the season, it was good for me to have the confidence and playing minutes."

FIBA

  
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