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Argentina hopeful Fernandez continues to thrive with Temple

Argentina’s promising young guard Juan Manuel Fernandez admits he “dreams of going to Turkey” for the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Fernandez is having a breakout season as a sophomore with the 17th ranked Temple Owls.

On Wednesday night, he had 15 points, seven assists and two steals in Temple’s 77-72 triumph over Xavier.

“I dream of going to Turkey,” said Fernandez, the son of legendary Argentina guard Gustavo “Lobito” Fernandez.

“I’m not going to deny that, but it depends on coach Sergio Hernandez and what players he wants to include in the team.”

Fernandez, who played for Argentina at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Men last summer, says he’s doing his best to at least merit consideration for a spot in the preliminary squad.

“It would be madness for me to go,” the 19-year-old said.

“I couldn’t even imagine it.

“It would be more incredible than that of Puerto Rico (FIBA Americas Championship). For the time being, I’m focusing on this season and on working as hard as I can to go to the World Championship.

“Before Hernandez called me up as the number 13 player (for the FIBA Americas Championship), he told me that he was taking me to show me how everything was.

“I don’t know if the future he spoke to me about was in reference to Turkey, or to a tournament in two years’ time.

“I know we have very good guards and bigger than me, that is why I am calm and I’m only thinking of one thing at a time.”

Fernandez’s fate may be tied to whether all of Argentina’s established stars return to the line-up.

Andres Nocioni, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Fabricio Oberto all did not play last summer in Puerto Rico.

Two lynchpins in the side who did play, however, were power forward Luis Scola and point guard Pablo Prigioni.

“I admire a lot Luis Scola and Prigioni,” Fernandez said. “They were my idols before going to the national team.

“When you have them close by, you realize why they are who they are and why they are different.”

Both Scola and Prigioni were long-time players in Spain with Tau Ceramica. Scola left for the NBA after the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, while Prigioni stayed with Tau (now Caja Laboral) before departing last summer for Real Madrid.

“With Pablo, I learned a lot despite the fact that he arrived late to the camp,” Fernandez said.

“Luis is a natural leader and he was incredible.

“The national team is very lucky to have him.

“The Americas tournament was a unique experience and I hope I can repeat.”

Argentina, who hold the top spot in the FIBA World Rankings, will play in Group A of the FIBA World Championship with Serbia, Australia, Jordan, Germany and Angola.

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