PARIS (2010 FIBA World Championship) - France remain hopeful that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will be in their squad for the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
Described by national team coach Vincent Collet as the missing ingredient from last year’s French team that lost just once at the EuroBasket in Poland and finished fifth, Noah is in contract talks with the Chicago Bulls.
The NBA club didn’t give its blessing for Noah to play for France in the Additional Qualifying Round for EuroBasket 2009.
Le Mans guard Antoine Diot, a vital member of the 2009 squad who recently went down in the LNB play-offs with a herniated disc in his back and needs several weeks to recover, is in the 24-man group.
National team veteran Florent Pietrus is included but not his sharpshooting brother Mickael of the Orlando Magic because of the same wrist injury that kept him out last year.
As expected, the Dallas Mavericks sensation Rodrigue Beaubois is also included.
Vincent Collet, the coach of France, said: "The purpose of this list of 24 players, as required by FIBA for the World Championship, is to create a tight group.
“Mickael Pietrus will have an operation this summer to fix his wrist.
“Joakim Noah, whose arrival is not ensured due to the renegotiation of his contract with his club, is well within the 24 and has reaffirmed his commitment to being in the group as soon as his situation is resolved.
“Finally, we decided to call Charles Lombahe Kahuda -who, in fact, committed to the Blues by signing the Charter of the France squad for the 2012 Olympics.
“The pre-selection issued today serves as a pool from which we shall pick the 17 players for the beginning of the year training.
“This screening also includes replacements that will serve to fill in for last-minute any defections due to injuries that could occur before then.
“There will, therefore, be 17 during the first course of 12 days in Pau that will be long and tiring, with two practices a day and covering many phases of the game.”
France list of 24 players: Alexis Ajinca, Nicolas Batum, Rodrigue Beaubois, Yannick Bokolo, Fabien Causeur, Aldo Curti, Nando De Colo, Boris Diaw, Antoine Diot, Mickaël Gelabale, Dounia Issa, Edwin Jackson, Aymeric Jeanneau, Alain Koffi, Charles Lombahe-Kahudi, Abdoulaye M’Baye, Ian Mahinmi, Adrien Moerman, Joakim Noah, Johan Petro, Florent Pietrus, Kévin Seraphin, Ali Traore, Ludovic Vaty.