Nando De Colo: We can’t be afraid to play

By Quixem Ramirez

France may be victims of circumstance — Spain’s unexpected losses against Russia and Brazil set up their quarterfinal matchup against Les Bleus. It was widely assumed that the second spot in Pool A wouldn’t have to deal with Spain but that’s the nature of the Olympics.

But here they are and they can’t complain. They can’t be afraid either as Nando De Colo asserted. Spain is the superior team but a passive-aggressive mantra isn’t a strategy conducive to success.

“We must no longer be afraid to play,” De Colo said. “Before we     were a little scared even before entering the field, but they     (Spain) must play eye to eye. It’s gonna be a tough game but     it’ll depend on us, the style of play that we will impose and     especially our defense.

We will take them back inside. It’s gonna be a tough game but     it’s the only way to get a medal. Spain is not unbeatable. If they fit a little inside, it can change. You have to     be aggressive.”

That aggressiveness will also need to translate to De Colo, whose averaging eight points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists through five preliminary games. He’s taken a step back, though, after his exhibition tour garnered rave reviews.

De Colo’s shooting 36.8% from the field and he’s turned the ball over more times than assists. He remains a threat in passing lanes and in transition. Aggressiveness isn’t really his problem. Instead, he needs to hone his aggressiveness, calm down and pick his spots.

His French team will need that from him as his role — he’s generally tasked to run the offense in Tony Parker’s absence — requires a lot of self control.

Spain has defeated France in four of their last six meetings but Les Bleus head coach Vincent Collet believes this will be the year they finally defeat Spain, a feat they haven’t accomplished since 2010.

It’s cyclical, he says.

But it’s going to take much more than faith.