TOKYO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Japan coach Torsten Loibl cited Albert Einstein when addressing his team's chances at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017.
"Logically, our winning chances are very little. Fortunately logic doesn’t win basketball games."
Loibl said the Asians, who have qualified for the global spectacle for the first time in 18 years, will rely heavenly on imagination - an uncommon trait for Japanese.
"This is what makes this Japanese team so special. These young men have spirits and the power of imagination. I don’t see this very often in our days."
Loibl is fully aware of the challenge ahead of his team in Cairo from 1-9 July.
"With Canada and Spain in our group we will have very difficult games from the beginning on, and the big one to make the top eight won't be an easy one either," Loibl said.
Japan reached Cairo by finishing second at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship 2016, where they lost to hosts Iran in the final.
"We have been a winning team so far. Now we are trying to make the next level," said Loibl, who was an advisor for Japan at the FIBA U17 World Championship 2014. "We are the underdogs. Players still have something to prove."
That could also lead to an upset occurring in Cairo.
"For sure we will see surprises in this tournament, and who knows, maybe Japan will be involved in some of them."
Albert Einstein once said that 'Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere'. Logically, our winning chances are very little. Fortunately logic doesn’t win basketball games." - Loibl
But the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 is not just about 2017 for Loibl. He and the Japanese basketball leaders are also thinking about the not-so-distant future.
"At the end of the day it really doesn't matter who we play in the tournament. More important is who we want to be in this tournament and also in the future," the coach said.
"We have three years until the Tokyo Olympics 2020. I have no doubts our players understand what this means very well. We are on a mission, and I hope people and our rivals will see that in Cairo."