We are a year away from the FIBA World Cup kicking off in Spain. Entering this summer we knew that Spain would be there as the tournament's host and that the United States would be there as the gold medal winner from the 2012 Olympics.
The rest of the tournament field of 24 teams will get filled in during the course of the summer.
The next three tickets were pucnhed this past weekend in Manila with Iran defeating the Philippines 85-71 in the FIBA Asia Championship Game. South Korea also punched their ticket with a win over Chinese Taipei in the third place game. Hamed Hadadi scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Iran to the FIBA Asia Championship.
That brings the field up to five. The rest of the field will get filled in throughout the next few weeks. The FIBA Oceania Championship starts up Wednesday and will send two teams to the World Cup. Of course, New Zealand and Australia are the only teams in the FIBA Oceania Championship . . . so, welcome to Spain!
AfroBasket will have a few more competitors and will send three teams to the World Cup. It starts in Cote D'Ivoire on August 20 and concludes August 31. The fun continues with FIBA Americas Championship in Venezuela on August 30 and runs until September 11. The four semifinalists will advance to the World Cup.
The main event is, of course, Eurobasket in Slovenia. That tips off September 4 and runs until September 22. Several top players like Tony Parker (France), Marc Gasol (Spain) and Goran Dragic (Slovenia). The top six teams excluding Spain will get to go to the World cup.
The field for next year's big basketball gathering is starting to take shape. At least we have something to watch in the next few days.