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Magnano: ‘Let’s dream about a medal’

New Brazil coach Ruben Magnano won’t guarantee a place on the podium at the FIBA World Championship later this year in Istanbul but he’s telling everyone that “nothing is impossible”.

Brazil haven’t enjoyed a top-three finish at a FIBA World Championship since 1978, when they beat Italy in the bronze-medal game in the Philippines.

At this year’s big event in Turkey, the Brazilians will take on Team USA, Slovenia, Croatia, Iran and Tunisia in Preliminary Round Group B.

Magnano, who was officially presented as the new coach in Sao Paulo over the weekend, said: “In the first cycle, we’re talking about a World Championship, a qualifying tournament for the Olympics and the London Olympics.

“Today, I cannot say that Brazil will be in second or sixth place.

“But I think the team will perform well in Turkey. I cannot speak of positions. It will depend on the production we have in the tournament.

“But I am very hopeful that the team will move forward on its path. Nothing is impossible.

“We will also be looking for a medal. Let’s dream about it, and allow the players to dream.”

Magnano, appointed coach of Brazil last week, will attend domestic competition games until February 5 and will then travel to the United States to meet the country’s NBA stars.

He will see Anderson Varejao (Cleveland) and Nene (Denver Nuggets) in action.

Magnano had hoped to watch Leandro Barbosa play for Phoenix but the Suns have announced that the guard is to have a wrist operation on Tuesday.

Barbosa, Brazil’s leading scorer on last year’s gold-medal winning side at the FIBA Americas Championship, is expected to be out of action for a month.

Magnano, the coach of Argentina’s gold-medal winning side at the 2004 Olympics, talked about the opportunity to lead Brazil at his presentation.

“First of all, it’s a great honor to be here and I thank the leaders of the (Brazilian Basketball) Confederation for the invitation and the confidence shown in me,” Magnano said.

“I came because I believe in the design of the CBB, the potential and talent of the Brazilian athletes and the certainty that we will achieve our goals.

“For this, we need the union and the work of all sectors to strengthen basketball more and more.

“Only with work, discipline and respect can we get what we want.”

Magnano also hinted that he will run a tight ship during this summer.

“We will have rules and standards that everyone must respect,” he said.

“This is part of the discipline that we implement.

“The Brazilian team is together not many days a year, so players need to understand that.

“I think in a system of concentration for a tournament there is no room for worldly things, conversations with family, for example, which may hinder the player.”

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