|15 August 2012|
|Star center Henk Norel, now in the prime of his career, is expected to lead the Netherlands in their EuroBasket qualifying campaign starting Wednesday|
There is an unmistakable brightness in the ranks of the Netherlands as they travel to Romania to launch their EuroBasket Qualification Round campaign.
With the Final Round in Slovenia to have 24 teams for the second time in row, opportunity knocks for the Dutch as they take aim at a top-two finish in Group D, which also has Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Latvia.
Should they finish the qualifiers first or second, the Netherlands will play in Slovenia next year.
The Dutch could also reach the Final Round if they are among the four best third-place teams in the six Qualification Round groups.
Results in the build-up to Wednesday's game at Romania have been mixed, yet encouraging.
The Dutch team's preparations finished with participation in an international tournament in Chomutov, the Czech Republic.
The Netherlands beat Bulgaria, 94-84, lost to the Czechs 76-63 and won 96-83 over the Slovak Republic.
Netherlands coach Jan Willem Jansen, who suggested wins over the Slovakians and Bulgarians were mild upsets, said: "We won two of three games in the Czech Republic.
"That, in itself, is promising.
"We are working with the team process and still have a long way to go, but we are very busy ..."
The players travelling to Romania will be Kees Akerboom, , Sean Cunningham, Francisco Elson, Nikki Hulzebos, Rogier Jansen, Worthy de Jong, Thomas Koenis, Henk Norel, Arvin Slagter, Robin Smeulders, Ties Theeuwkens, Jessey Voorn and Leon Williams.
The Romanians, meanwhile, have Andrei Mandache, Mihai Paul, Dragos Andrei, Daniel Popescu, Octavian Popa Calota, Vlad Moldoveanu, Tudor Jucan, Mihai Silvasan, Titus Nicoara, Ionut Dragusin, Catalin Baciu and Laszlo Lazar.