- National Teams
The Great Britain Under-20s fly out to Bosnia today to begin their Division B European Championship campaign and get that much desired promotion to Division A.
Led by Spurs draft pick Ryan Richards and Baskonia guard Devon Van Oostrum, the team has multiple tools at their disposal and on paper are one of the strongest teams at the championships.
Drawn in Group C, they will open up their campaign in two days against Portugal (Thursday 14th), before facing Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, and the Czech Republic on consecutive days.
Talking to Hoopsfix from the airport, Van Oostrum is feeling good after the completion of training camp and warm-up games where they went 6-2:
“Training camp was very good, we got great team chemistry at the moment, everyone is on the same page and we’re all going out there with the same goal.”
“I’m very confident, aslong as we stick to the systems in place and trust each other, I’m very confident this will be a successful trip.”
Kent born Richards believes they have every chance of bringing back the gold;
“Training camp has been good, chemistry has been great on this team, better than any other year I’ve been involved with it. Couple of tough losses but they definitely made us strong as we finished up the camp and get ready for the Europeans.
“I’m real confident, I think we’ve got a great chance of winning the gold, like I’ve said the chemistry is great on this team, we’ve got great coaching staff. I really think we’re gonna bring the gold back.”
Both the 6’3″ guard and 7 foot big man are well aware that defense and rebounding, which were weaknesses in their preparation games, are going to be the key, stating “offense will take of itself”.
Richards said “we’ve got scorers on this team, we’ll always be able to score, but obviously defense wins games so that’s gonna be huge for us.”
The other important factor is the chemistry between the two leaders, something both of them struggled with to begin with. Devon explained; “Yeah, I mean we can still get better at times, but he’s definitely one of my favourite players to play with, everything becomes so much easier with him on the court”. Richards agreed with Devon’s assessment, but is confident they’re getting a good feel for each other declaring “we’re a great combo”.
With the dynamic duo seemingly ready to go, and talented teammates such as Northwestern’s Alex Marcotullio, Reading’s Will Hall and Maine’s Alasdair Fraser to name a few, filling important roles, time will only tell whether or not gold becomes a reality and U20s become the second GB junior side to gain promotion.
Keep it locked to Hoopsfix.com and follow us on Twitter (@Hoopsfix) for regular updates throughout the campaign.