National Teams

Great Britain Olympic Basketball Roster Announced

July 5, 2012 8:42 am 28 comments

by Sam Neter

GB Basketball Olympic Roster

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced the 12 players that head coach Chris Finch has chosen to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The selected athletes are:

GB Basketball Olympic Roster

Kieron Archara, (Manresa, Spain)
Robert Archibald (Zaragoza, Spain)
Eric Boateng (Peristeri, Greece)
Dan Clark (Estudiantes, Spain)
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls, USA)
Joel Freeland (Unicaja, Spain)
Kyle Johnson (Apoel, Cyprus)
Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston, USA)
Mike Lenzly (CEZ Nymburk, Czech Republic)
Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Besiktas, Turkey)
Nate Reinking (Sheffield Sharks, UK)
Andrew Sullivan (Leicester Riders, UK)

Ogo Adegboye was the unlucky 13th man cut, with it already being reported at the weekend that Devon van Oostrum, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Myles Hesson’s Olympic journeys had ended. NBA players Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens had both previously withdrawn.

With the announcement, and the Olympics fast approaching, GB star Luol Deng said he can’t wait until the games:

“We have all worked very hard for this opportunity and to have the final 12 named is exciting. The next few weeks will fly by and I can’t wait to step on the court with my teammates at the Games. We plan to make Great Britain proud.”

While all 12 players will be making their Olympic Games debut, they bring plenty of top level competitive experience with them. Led by Luol Deng, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Joel Freeland this will be the strongest roster the team has had competing since their inception 5 years ago.

As yet, the squad still don’t know who their first opponents will be on July 29th as the qualifying campaign is not yet complete. However they will be determined to place in the top four of a group that will certainly contain Brazil, Spain, Australia and China in order to progress beyond their six-team group and into the quarter-final, where the competition relocates to the North Greenwich Arena.

Finch admitted making the final decision was not easy:

“Cutting down to a final 12 is always difficult. We had a really productive camp in Houston and to finally announce the Olympic team here in Loughborough is fantastic. The next four weeks provide us with outstanding competition leading up to the Olympics, which is just what is required before doing battle within our group come Games time.”

Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:

“The progress that the men’s basketball squad has made since London was awarded the Olympics in 2005 is quite remarkable. British Basketball has worked hard to prepare a squad that is capable of producing credible and competitive performances for Team GB against the very best nations in the world at the Olympic Games.

“They will be faced with a tough group, but recent form suggests there is no reason to be fearful. They’ve secured some brilliant results in the last few years and were fantastic when the Test Event came to London last August, so there’s every reason to believe they can progress beyond the group stage.

“The home support at the Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park will create the kind of atmosphere that will get the best out of our athletes. This is a chance for our basketball players to raise the profile of this exciting and high-tempo sport and inspire youngsters across the UK to take up the sport. Having someone like Luol Deng in our team – who recently played in the NBA All-Star match – just goes to show that there is no limit to what the future generation can aspire to.”

Whilst Performance Director Chris Spice added:

“This has been an incredible journey so far for this team since 2006 and we are very pleased to announce our strongest ever team. I would like to congratulate all those who have been selected and at the same time pay tribute to those players that have just missed out. It’s only through building our depth that we can continue to compete at the highest levels of international basketball and I am hoping those who just missed this time around will be with us on the road to Rio.”

The team is currently 0-5 in their warm-up games, and will head on a road trip at the end of this week that will see them face France (Saturday) and Spain (Monday) before returning to the UK to play a tournament in Sheffield.

It will be only the second time in history that Team GB will be represented in basketball at the Olympics, and the first time since the Games were last hosted by London in 1948.

Thoughts on the final roster? Who’s ready for the Olympics?!

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  • Steve

    I hope i’m wrong but i’m starting to get the feeling that this team will be lucky to win any games at all . . .

    • jamie

      that’s the spirit.

    • jamie

      I mean obviously Spain are Spain, but don’t forget we put up a good fight against them the last time we played them, without a full strength squad. The same with Australia during the test event. Brazil will be very tough to beat but I think we should be able to take China again.

  • jamie

    I agree this is the strongest team we have put out yet. The only question I have is Andrew Sullivan. I wonder if it would not have been better to have another ball-handler instead as I can’t see where Sullivan is going to get into the rotation much with Deng and Pops likely playing very heavy minutes and Dan Clark, Joel Freeland doing the same. PG is our weakest position and so I think one more athletic guard to balance out the experience of Lenzly and Reinking might have been good. But anyway, we’re locked in now so let’s go out there and surprise some people/haters

    • alex

      Mba over sullivan anyday, just because he’s captain doesnt mean he should have a free ride into the team. We should be using the youth of the nation who can actually give us more

  • Steve

    There’s no way Sullivan should be in this team. It’s purely down to sentiment as he’s been with GB since day one. There are a number of more talented players players who could make more of a contribution and pose a scoring threat of somekind – something Sullivan can’t at this level.

  • Matt

    For me the balance of the final 12 is all wrong. 6 bigs is 1 too many. With a squad of 12 i would have thought you would have gone with 2 guys for each position to make the 10 and then fill the other 2 spots with players to fill in for team weaknesses. I would always have a 5th big guy to cover foul trouble and for this GB team another ball handling guard.

    Can any of the bigs play on the perimeter?? Dan Clark likes to shoot the 3 as does Achara but can any of the 6 bigs defend an international SF?? I don’t think so which leaves 6 players rotating for 2 spots.

    Does anyone know if changes can be made to the squad at any point (before the start of the tournament, during, etc)?

  • Laurence

    I think it’s for us all to comment. We were not at the GB camp, some players may have under or over preformed. Proving something new to the coaches, who overall know best in this situation. I am disappointed that both DVO and MBA missed out, DVO purely for what the opportunity would done for his confidence and growth as a young player. Chris Finch must know best, he is in the position to know best and I feel that this is still a very strong squad for GB basketball

    • Fanzin

      Chris Finch is in the position to know best. I agree with that part.

      With the exception of J.F., the big men are all quite slow, especially for this standard of ball. Their defence is highly questionable, but results will prove it one way or the other.

  • Tom

    Any news on the two reserves? Nothing on GB Basketball.
    DVO is now with the u20s, but is he on standby (here’s hoping!)

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  • igy

    MBA Is way better than sullivan, I feel the GB team always pick players on reputation and how long they have been in the team, if we had MBA instead of sullivan the team would look alot better, GB organiser can be B/S sometimes

  • Matt

    Isn’t MBA a Power Forward and Sullivan primarily a Small Forward. Wouldn’t be wise to take a seventh inside player and sacrifice a wing.

    I don’t Finch rates MBA, based on previous seasons. He hardly got any court time last season. I would have bet from the outset that MBA only had a chance of getting in Finch’s squad if someone else got injured.

    • chris scruton

      Yes he is. MBA is a clear 4. I knew we would go with 4 guards, because ultimately Deng will play the point forward spot at some point. Achara, Pops, & Sulli can all defend the perimeter, but Pops more likely to give up fouls doing so.

  • OJ

    Not really sure how Sullivan, Boateng and Ahara make the team over Matthew Bryan, he averages double figures in scoring and lead the turkish league in two statistical categories (blocks/steals) which is basically his ticket onto an nba summer league roster and possibly an nba team next season. Apart from pops, Luol and Freeland no other forwards are at his level. He must feel cheated! Looking at the guard situation it looks like its riding on reinking, Lenzly plays at a good level but has some offensive struggles. We also dont have a guard over 6,3! Spain, Could have claver 6,9 Fernandes 6,6 and others. I dont even want to think about what brazils marcelino huertas and barbosa if playing will do to the GB guards! Not to mention their bigs! Splitter, anderson, nene if playing. Deng, Freeland and pops need a massive tournament!

  • OJ

    MBA is a power forward yeah, and Sullivan is used as a small forward but he cant shoot or handle the ball and mba has a nice handle even for a small forward, he is better as a sf and pf compared to sullivan. He was one of the premier players in Turkey last seasonand sullivan got by in the bbl. There is a slight injustive in the selection of this team. I dont even like mba but he should be in the team based on basketball abilities!

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  • Olu

    Ogo should come and play for Nigeria, we need a point guard and we beat the GB team, check here nigerian-basketball.blogspot.co.uk

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  • Baller

    good luck getting the ball over the half! coming up against atheletic guards

  • Maineman

    MBA for Sullivan any day! He can easily hold the SF spot and Sullivan is a wasted spot on the roster. It’s a shame Ryan Richards refused the call, but I have faith in the big men chosen, apart from maybe Achara. I’m excited about our chances. And with players like Richards, DVO and Fraiser, the future looks pretty bright too.
    Great to here about Freeland too!

  • George Fuller

    I am very supprised that Ryan Richards is not on here. He has a great fundamental base at the PF spot. Great footwork, can play inside and outside, he’s faster than most international power forwards and he usually catches them off guard with his unusually good ball handling for his 7 foot frame. He’s a real asset that we’re missing.

    • Rob

      Funny how no coach of a professional team has ever figured out how to use this multi-skilled 7 footer.

    • George Fuller

      But with that said, he does need to secure his NBA career.

  • Darren

    As others have already noted here, the final 12 has too many big men IMO

    Very disappointed not to see Van Oostrum in the lineup, especially after a solid Euro Championships performance last year – was best PG on the team if you ask me…smart, great vision, quick step and great shot – just what GB needs.

    If we’re going to compete on international stage we need a more rounded team – can’t just expect to rely on Deng and Mensah-Bonsu.

    Anyways, hope they do well. Will be good for the game

  • Matt

    RE: Ryan Richards, didn’t he declare himself out early in the summer, stating he was going to represent Jamaica? Therefore nullifies his inclusion going forward.

    RE: DVO, yes surprised to see him cut but see the comments from Chris Finch and it will make a bit more sense, think his argument is at least plausible even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

    Agree with all comments on being big man heavy, guards will have a real challenge on their hands for sure.

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