Sabonis Headed to Asia with Lithuanian National Team
Pacers Big Man Integral Part of FIBA World Cup Medal Contender
While Pacers center Myles Turner has been competing to secure a spot on the USA Basketball Men's National Team for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, his frontcourt running mate has also been training with his respective national team ahead of next month's world championships.
Domantas Sabonis represented Lithuania at the 2016 Olympics and is set to play for his home country again at the World Cup, which begins Aug. 31 in China.
Sabonis has had some strong performances recently as Lithuania began its World Cup prep with a series of exhibitions. Sabonis had a team-high 11 points in an 80-60 win over Finland and racked up 25 points and 13 rebounds in an 88-72 victory over Russia.
While Turner and the United States are training in Australia, Sabonis and his Lithuanian teammates are scheduled to travel to South Korea on Wednesday. They will play exhibitions against South Korea on Aug. 24, Angola on Aug. 25, and the Czech Republic on Aug. 27 before heading to China for the World Cup.
On the Lithuanian national team, Sabonis teams with Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas to form a formidable interior duo. With those two leading the way, Lithuania is considered a contender to medal in China. Lithuania currently sixth in the FIBA World rankings, trailing only the United States, Spain, France, Serbia, and Argentina.
— BBaltics (@BBaltics) August 18, 2019
Lithuania opens World Cup play on Sept. 1 against Angola, then plays fellow Group H teams Canada on Sept. 3 and Australia on Sept. 5. The top two teams from each group advance to a second round of group play, with a total eight teams advancing from there to a single-elimination bracket.
Pacers fans could see Sabonis and Turner square off at some point during the World Cup, but that matchup won't happen until at least the quarterfinals.