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Plenty of firepower but no Tiago

Barbosa-05-07-2013Brazil will have plenty of talent and experience when they compete at the FIBA Americas Championship this summer in Caracas.

For the first time in a very long time, however, veteran center Tiago Splitter will not be with the team.

The San Antonio Spurs star, who made his Olympic debut last summer and helped the national side reach the Quarter-Finals, has sent a letter to Brazil Basketball Confederation President Carlos Nunes and Secretary General Edio Jose Alves explaining the need to withdraw from this year’s group.

Splitter cites a “physical recovery program” he has to undertake after a grueling campaign that ended last month with a Game 7 defeat to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

The 2.11m pivot, who is expected to sign a new four-year deal worth $36million with the Spurs, says he also must concentrate on contract negotiations.

Splitter finished his letter by saying: “I make myself available for future call-ups.”

Brazil will be looking to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup when they play this summer in Venezuela.

To reach next year’s tournament, Magnano’s team must have a top-four finish.

Splitter’s withdrawal leaves coach Ruben Magnano with 19 players from the preliminary squad, including Anderson Varejao and Leandro Barbosa.

The two veterans had their NBA seasons cut short with Cleveland and Boston, respectively, by injuries.

A couple of intriguing newcomers in the squad are players in Spain’s top flight, the Liga Endesa.

They are Estudiantes big man Lucas Nogueira, selected 16th in last month’s NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, and Valencia center Vitor Faverani.

Barcelona’s Marcelo Huertas, Flamengo pair Marcus Vinicius Vieira de Souza and Caio Torres, Uniceub Brasilia duo Alex Garcia and Guilherme Giovannoni, naturalized guard Larry Taylor, Washington Wizards big man Nene and 2014 NBA draft pick Raul Neto (Atlanta) all played at the Olympics and are in the preliminary squad.

Brazil squad for FIBA Americas Championship: Alex Ribeiro Garcia, Anderson Varejao, Arthur Luiz Belchior Silva, Augusto Cesar Lima, Caio Aparecido da Silveira Torres, Guilherme Giovannoni, Larry James Taylor Jr, Leandro Barbosa, Lucas Nogueira, Marcelo Huertas, Marcus Vinicius Vieira de Souza, Nene, Raul Neto, Rafael Freire Luz, Rafael Ferreira de Souza, Rafael Hettsheimeir, Scott Machado, Vitor Alves Benite and Vitor Faverani.

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