National Teams

Ben Gordon Looking to Suit Up for GB Next Summer

August 28, 2010 9:02 am 10 comments

by Sam Neter

Ben Gordon Great Britain

Ben Gordon even showed some love to the BBB campaign!

In what was the strongest showing of his commitment to the Great Britain basketball programme thus far, NBA baller Ben Gordon attended the GB-Bosnia & Herzegovina game on Thursday and told the press he is “looking forward to playing, hopefully next summer”.

“I’m excited, part of the main reason I wanted to come out to catch at least one of the games before the summer was over is because I’m fully committed and I’ll playing as soon as I’m healthy enough to. The past few summers the team has been expecting me to play but I haven’t been able to make it, so it’s been a long time coming. I’m definitely excited and looking forward to playing, hopefully next summer.”

The ankle injury that has prevented him from joining the team this year is currently at about 85% and expected to be fully healed for the Detroit Piston’s training camp that opens in a month.

Playing in the Olympics in 2012 would mean a lot to the 6’3 guard who left the UK when he was 10 months old and has returned sporadically to visit family.

“Just to participate in the Olympics alone would be amazing,” he explained “but to play here, 2012 in the country I was born in, I don’t have any words to describe that. My family would be really proud, it would be something very special for me.”

The addition of Ben Gordon to an already strong Team GB would be monumental and ease a lot of pressure off Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Asked what he feels he would bring to the team he said:

“Everything that I’m capable of. My ability to make plays, my ability to score, my knowledge of the game, I think I’ll be able to bring a lot. Probably even more than in the NBA, the level of the competition is great but on this team we’re not all pro players so my role will probably be a lot larger. From talking to Luol, it seems like he has to do a lot, so I’ll be able to come in take some of the pressure off Luol and some of the other guys who are playing heavy minutes and are relied on a lot to pretty much do everything for the team.”

And how much better would he make us?

“He gives other people space, if we had Ben and Luol, if we had a fully armed lineup last summer, people were saying that if you were fully loaded that’s one of the 5 teams that can win European championships,” explained Great Britain Team Manager Ron Wuotila. “To say that about a Great Britain team is quite a statement-he makes us a lot better.”

Your Thoughts?

Excited at the prospect of seeing Ben Gordon finally in that Great Britain uniform? What role do you see him playing? Will he make GB a European championship contender? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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  • baller

    starting 5 for GB next year:
    PG – Ben gordan
    SG: Jarrett Hart
    SF:Deng
    PF: Pops
    C: Freeland

    with MBA, Archibald, ryan Richards, ogo, Justin Robision, Reinking, Dan Clark on the bench. thats a good team!

  • Phil Dodds

    It’s goes without saying that Ben Gordon would improve the team and he’d definitely be able to step up and take some pressure off the likes of Luol and Pops.

    But we’ve seen in the last few weeks that even without the likes of Gordon, Freeland, Betts, Archilbald etc we can compete and we can’t forget what the guys (likes of Nate, Ogo, Dan) have achieved and contributed this summer.

    Probably best to wait and see what the final squad for the EuroBasket/Olympics looks like, but on paper with a full healthy squad it looks great.

  • Sean Geddes

    At the beginning of summer I was worried if we’d actually qualify for Eurobasket given the number of injuries and withdrawals. Coupled with the fact that Deng hadn’t had a great season with Chicago (for various reasons) and I thought we were looking vulnerable.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing and now we’ve qualified things are certainly looking brighter! I think it’s been a blessing in disguise missing so many players as it’s really allowed a lot of young players the chance to develop (Adegboye being an obvious example).

    As has been said, a lot can happen in 6/12/24 months, but there’s already a pool of 15-20 to pick from which is great news. On top of the names already mentioned, Devon Van Oostrum is another one who’s already knocking on the door and could play a big role.

    Back British Basketball!

  • quain

    sin duda, a esta seleccion, (de gran merito su calificacion) ya que el nivel de bases, y escoltas es muy bajo, amen de jugar sin centers, es vital ,al< menos para el verano que viene la incorporacion de Betts, que junto a Archibald y Freeland haran que el equipo sea fuerte para explotar el talento de la dupla Geng-gordon, asi como la explosividad de Pops, de los jovenes no creo que Ostrum tenga el nivel pero Ryan Richards,si es aprovechable, En fin enhorabuena y Suerte!!!!!

    • Matt

      Literal translation, not that it helps much:

      no doubt, this selection (of great merit their qualifications) and that the level of bases, and escorts is very low, love to play without centers, is vital, <least for the coming summer the incorporation of Betts, who along with Archibald and Freeland will make the team is strong to exploit the talents of the duo Geng-gordon, as well as the explosion of Pops, the young do not think the level has Ostrum but Ryan Richards, if profitable, in order to congratulate and Luck !!!!!

      • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

        Haha thanks Matt

  • jim

    Not totally related to this post but… just like to say big thanks to you guys at Back British Basketball and Hoopsfix… I used to love basketball 15 – 20 years ago. Went to TV Tigers games and even ball boy’d at a few. Always wished there was more facilities in the UK to play at. The only place I could play when I was young was a local Polish club car park, depending on how many cars were parked!! My nearby university used to have 3 nets next to the tennis courts but got rid of them 5 years ago because of cracks in the surface, the court now has overgrown weeds in it!

    I don’t know which organisation has the highest authority in British basketball but they should aim to bring Eurobasket tournament to the UK, maybe in 2015. It could easily be held here with all the big arenas we have. Also they should push to get a NBA All-star game in London, something that I think the NBA would be interested in.

    On a grass roots level there needs to be more outdoor courts and I think there should be a government initiative to give free use of unused sports courts for Under 16’s. So kids can book indoor court free of charge (if there’s free slots)

    I’d forgotten about basketball in this country. It’s a shame to see the BBL go backwards, the league just seems to be a jumble. I just looked at their website the marketing and imaging of teams is terrible, only Newcastle Eagles look credible, the Worthing Thunders logo looks like its be done by a 4 year old on paintbrush.

    If Gordon and Deng come together next year it would be amazing for the exposure of UK basketball- if only the UK press gave a damn about it. Fingers crossed GB make 2012 and get that exposure. Maybe the reason FIBA are making UK sweat is cause they want UK to increase its investment and energy into development of the game in UK, something that has plodded along for last 20 years whilst places like Spain have thrived.

    I wonder where UK basketball will head after 2012. The BBA model seems really appealing but as the saying goes, money talks….

    I’m definitely excited by the Midnight Madness project. For me this highlights all the aspects of basketball that are appealing, the hip-hop influence and emphasis on street ball style. I think the BBL and potential BBA could learn a thing or two from them. I think in order to compete against football you need to offer an experience, something Twenty20 cricket and darts seems to have done emphasising the entertainment experience. I was interested to learn that 3 pointers were only brought in to basketball in the 1980’s. To me one of the most exciting things with basketball is a spectacular dunk. What do you think to maybe bringing in a 3 points for amazing dunks?

    Also could something like a UK version of Harlem Globetrotters with Midnight Madness antics doing tricks and amazing dunks could get on ‘Britain’s got Talent’ to raise the profile of the game in the country?

    If BBA goes ahead I wonder if bringing in an old NBA star like Shaq or Allen Iverson could bring exposure and marketing like Beckham did for the MLS. Again it boils down to money and where it’ll come from but kinda a self-fulfilling prophecy. Signing Shaq for say a $1m would probably generate twice as much in terms of publicity – hopefully generating sponsorship and TV interest. Come to think of it I remember when I heard Dennis Rodman was playing at Worthing it highlighted the existence of BBL again, which I’d forgotten about, but he only played in 2 games?

    It’s all “ifs, buts, and maybes” but I think the UK needs to look bigger things, as the BBL’s current model is almost a complete waste of time. Pretty much any British star player seems to have been made in the USA. The BBL in its current model should also reduce the amount of 4th and 5th rate American players and widen its scouting and coaching going into schools across the UK, helping to find the next Deng, Gordon or Pops out there.

    The NBA games in London have sold well and the NBA must be buoyed by the NFL’s sell-out games at Wembley. Part of the reason that the BBL never prevailed in London is mirrored by attempts in New York to promote soccer. US National team games sell-out in New York, and the star studded NY Cosmos used to get 45,000 average attendances. However the Metrostars, now the NY Redbulls, were slowly dying, until this year when then brought Henry and Marquez from Barcelona now they’re getting over 20,000 a game. London can get 90,000 for NFL but the London Monarchs died out. London can get 20,000 for an NBA game but Towers died out.

    At the very least the BBL should bring in a professional design department to do a complete overhaul of team images. It should be courting the NBA, especially as the NBA is on a mission to popularise basketball in Europe, BBL should try to gain use of the NBA’s wealth and experience as much as it can. Take for example NBA games in Italy and Spain being played against local sides. Why not play BBL all-star team against a NBA team like MLS does, having played Man Utd in Houston this year.

    I think for basketball to truly succeed in the UK, London, Birmingham and Manchester need to be at the heart of it.

    But anyway continued success to you and Team GB.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      I think that’s the most epic comment I’ve ever had on here! Haha…thanks for the kind words, and agree with a lot of your thoughts..a lot of things need work!

  • frances

    does anyone know why Kelenna Azubuike isnt in. he was born in England but i heard he was denied a citizenship a couple years back when stated he would be interested in playing for team GB, anyone know anymore on this?

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      They’re still working on getting his passport, so fingers crossed!

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