Starting this week, Unicaja faces the most important preseason in recent years with a clear and direct objective: the Preliminary Phase of the Basketball Champions League. The compositors will play their objectives on September 23 and 25 and that is one of the reasons why the preparation starts so soon. However, the coaching staff will find a big problem: When will the squad be complete?
Medical exams start this week with the players who are available. Juanma Rodríguez, the typesetter sports director, already explained a few days ago the procedure of these first days: «The first week of August there will be arrivals, accommodation in flats, examinations will take place and training will begin on August 9 or 10».
Starting the second week of the month, Ibon Navarro will now be able to have part of his squad to work on the court for the friendlies which will begin on August 27 against Fundación CB Granada -behind closed doors-. Although the truth is that he will have to resort to several homegrown players to be able to start training and it is that Unicaja will experience an atypical and “special” preseason with the casualties of numerous internationals.
Tyler Kalinoski, Nihad Djedovic, Will Thomas and Dylan Osetkowski -waiting for Tyson Carter’s signing to be confirmed- are expected to arrive on the Costa del Sol this week. They will also be for medical examinations Kendrick Perry and David Kravish. Juanma Rodríguez confirmed the presence of both at the start of the preseasonbut they will leave in a matter of days to play the August Window with Montenegro and Bulgaria, respectively, and have the passports. Both are in the Eurobasket pre-selection, but Unicaja hopes to have them in September.
Another particular situation is that of Melvin Ejim and Augusto Lima. Canada and Brazil have not made official the calls for the games in August and for the FIBA AmeriCup -from September 2 to 11-, but the logical thing is that both are on that first list, for now.
An even more special case is that of Spanish internationals. Alberto Díaz, Darío Brizuela and Jonathan Barreiro will meet with the national team in Madrid from this Monday. Sergio Scariolo must eliminate 10 players in order to have the definitive list of 12 for the Eurobasket that begins on September 1. Will any of them compete in the championship or will they be available for Unicaja?
The only thing that is certain is that Ibon Navarro will have to design a preseason in which he will not know when he will be able to gather all his players. Precisely, that preparation in which he needed them most to fit in with the nine incorporations and when the first big objective arrives on September 23/25 with the BCL Preliminary Phase. Preseason in sight, but… with very few certainties and too many unknowns.