This time a year ago, Alexey Shved was basking in the glory of international basketball stardom, a bronze Olympic medal hanging somewhere in his possession.
For the second-year Timberwolves reserve, that aura carried over to EuroBasket 2013. The same can't be said for the Russian Federation as a whole, though.
A year after beating Argentina in the London Olympics' third-place game, the Russians wrapped up a dismal showing in Slovenia with an 89-77 win against Turkey -- their only victory in the all-European international team tournament. They failed to advance past the preliminary round-robin stage, meaning Shved should be in Minneapolis before too long to prepare for training camp.
Russia's 1-4 finish renders a FIBA wild-card gift its only chance at qualifying for next summer's World Cup. A step back at EuroBasket was certainly expected when former Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko, Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov and fellow big man Sasha Kaun weren't slated to participate, bu...