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Aleksey Shved (Russia) Georgia v Russia. 2011 EuroBasket, First Round. 1 September 2011

KLAIPEDA (EuroBasket 2011) - Russia have struggled over the years in producing home grown point guards as the American-born J.R. Holden long held the playmaking reigns and guided Russia to the 2007 EuroBasket crown and the 2008 Olympics.

But Russia coach David Blatt hopes and believes that talented young guard Alexey Shved can take over the directorial duties on the court and perhaps even match Holden's feat of leading Russia back to the Olympics next summer in London.

Shved, a 22-year-old from Belgorod, has long been one of Russia's prized prospects. And he was close to making Blatt's squad for EuroBasket 2009 but was one of the final cuts and had to stay home.

In Lithuania, however, Shved is earning his time on the court, averaging 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 21 minutes per game over the first two contests.

"Alexey Shved has gotten so much playing time because he is good," said Blatt.

"I made a commitment a long time ago that this national team was not going to be made up only of old players. We were constantly brining in new players. We were constantly renewing the team. So the future is good for this team. And Shved is doing a nice job for that."

Shved said he has not struggled with the expectations of his first time with the national team and taking over the playmaking duties straight away.

"I do not feel any additional pressure. I am not nervous," said Shved, who will be spending his seventh season in the CSKA Moscow system.

"I am happy to play for the national team."

Shved is willing to do anything Blatt wants, if that means he's on the court.

"I am ready to play whatever position coach wants - point guard, shooting guard, small forward or power forward. Hopefully, I have enough strength and power for that," said 1.95m Shved.

Shved is actually considered more of a shooting guard but Blatt has him running the point.

"I was adjusting to the point guard position all of training camp and the exhibition games. So I would say I am used to playing the point," said Shved.

His teammate at CSKA, Andrey Vorontsevich is happy to have Shved on board in Lithuania and sees him getting better.

"He is a talented guy and a good friend. He improves year by year, especially in the means of basketball IQ. He helps our national team a lot whatever position he plays - point guard or swingman," said Vorontsevich.

"I feel very comfortable with him on the court. He sees the floor well, knows where to find myself and all other guys on the court.

"He has the ability to become a great player," added Vorontsevich.

Blatt and the rest of Russia hope the rest of the world get to see Shved on display at London 2012.


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