- National Teams
The England Under-18s (1993 born) are facing troubling times as the roster has been left decimated over the past few weeks after a series of injuries and withdrawals.
Hoopsfix understands head coach Steve Bucknall is holding a camp this weekend in Cobham, Surrey, where a number of players who have previously been cut will compete to make the final roster after a number of players will not be able to join the team at the Division B European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, this summer.
The Under-18 side competed in Belgium last week, before returning home to take part in Future Stars at Brunel University, Uxbridge. Playing 8 games in 9 days, incorporated with a gruelling fitness regime has taken it’s toll on the team, as they finished Future Stars with just 7 healthy players. Both Josh McGinn and John Stewart have now been confirmed out of the Euros with hamstring injuries sustained at Future Stars 2011.
Prior to this, Joe Hart, who was with the team at the Haris Memorial Tournament in December, has recently had knee surgery, meaning he will not see a return to the court until next season removing him from the equation, whilst Jesse Chuku is in the US playing AAU ball.
Meanwhile, it seems talented 1994 born Josh Ward-Hibbert has decided to focus on tennis this coming season, having made a wildcard appearance at Wimbledon this year. The multi-talented athlete has been juggling the two sports over the past few years, remaining as one of the best players in the country in his age group for both. It was inevitable he would eventually choose one, and if true, it is unfortunate for England that it is not basketball.
With Devon Van Oostrum having been called up to the GB U20s, it leaves the team without 6 players who would likely be vying for starting spots, and a number on the remaining roster battling to be fit in time for the Europeans.
With the Under-18s due to fly out to Bulgaria next Tuesday (19th July), and the final roster not being finalised until this coming Saturday, it leaves little time for any preparation, giving Bucknall a testing first international campaign as head coach.
What do you think? Will be able to pull it together in time?