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Luol Deng will not be joining the Great Britain team until the weekend at this week’s London International Basketball Invitational it has been revealed.
LOCOG’s David Luckes, the Head of Sport Competition, stated in a press conference this morning Luol will “not be with the team until the weekend”, despite no official word from British Basketball.
Reasons remain unclear, but sources close to the team have confirmed he will be absent this week. His annual camp, Deng Camp started today in Loughborough where he is expected to be appearing.
The news will be a blow to the team and many fans who were hoping to see the Chicago Bulls star in action this week at the new Olympic basketball arena, as the London Organising Committee of the Olympics games runs a test event to prepare for the London 2012 Olympics.
Deng will miss Great Britain taking on France, Croatia and Serbia, appearing against China on Saturday and Australia on Sunday-both of which will be televised on the BBC through the red button and livestreamed on the Telegraph’s website.
Head coach Chris Finch, looking forward to the week ahead, is not phased by the competition, and despite the ultimate goal being the team performance at Eurobasket, is still keen to get wins:
“Everything we’re doing is through the lens of Lithuania, we’ve got several agendas this week, but one of them is we wanna play well, we wanna get some wins. That’s what playing sport is about. Added to that, we gotta get our young guys up to speed and see what we have. We gotta get our team gelled, we’ve gotta get everybody in here and playing together and in the right way and try and stay healthy. There’s a lot of things we’re trying to accomplish but we feel pretty comfortable we’ve got the depth now to be able to handle a tournament like this.”
The other late-comer, Robert Archibald, joined the team today and took part in their morning practice, as they prepare for what will be the highest level international tournament ever held in the UK.
FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann is impressed by the lineup of the tournament and the new Olympic venue:
“This invitational tournament will be a very interesting and competitive one, with six of the best teams in men’s basketball. The Olympic Basketball Arena is a wonderful and world class venue”
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