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French National Team Update

Last time we talked about Tony Parker here on Project Spurs, it was about a mild injury he suffered for the French National Team. Here is an update on Parker now that he is back with France in the EuroBaset 2009 qualifiers as well as a look at how Ian Mahinmi and Spurs draft pick Nando De Colo are doing.

France has not played since their August 17 73-77 loss to Finland, and it definitely was not one of Parker’s best games. He scored four points and had three assists in 31 minutes and seemed to be outplayed all night by Finland’s Petteri Koponen.

While Parker may not have been at his best, De Colo impressed, leading the team with 18 points, including a three-pointer that gave Les Bleus a 3 pt. lead late in the game.

In France’s win against Italy, which clinched the top spot in Group B of the Additional Qualifying Round, Parker fared much better, scoring 23 points and dishing out 5 assists in 31 minutes.

Tomorrow, Parker will be returning to Belgium, where he was born, to play the Belgian National Team. While he is very popular in Belgium, he shouldn’t expect any cheering for him, and if cleared from a foot injury, Belgian point guard Sam Van Rossom will try to pressure Parker the way Koponen did.

Nando De ColoThrough four games, De Colo has averaged nine points and 1.5 assists per game. His best games have come when he’s had extended minutes in Parker’s absence, and against Finland, shooting 66 percent from the field and hitting two of two three-pointers.

Spurs big man Ian Mahinmi has probably made the most noise recently for the French team. He was a late addition to the team and was not expected to stay with the team for very long. In his only game, Mahinmi was asked to play spot minutes behind Ronny Turiaf and Johan Petro in the loss to Finland. In 12 minutes, Mahinmi scored 12 points and had five rebounds.

That must’ve been eye-opening to coach Vincent Collet, since he decided to keep Mahinmi around and let Petro go in a surprising move.

“With regards to Johan,” Collet said, “we decided not to keep him for more defensive reasons than offense. We believed that Ian Mahinmi had a profile that had more mobility and gives an advantage to the national team.

France will play Belgium tomorrow and Sunday in the qualifying round playoffs. Be sure to check back for updates on Parker, De Colo and Mahinmi next week here on Project Spurs.