- National Teams
The Great Britain Senior Men’s side begin their Eurobasket campaign this weekend in Cobham, as they take on Netherlands and Nigeria in their first two warm-up games of the summer.
Training camp opened last Saturday, and hasn’t been easy says GB forward Drew Sullivan:
“It’s been tough in practice, it’s been very intense and I’m just getting used to it again. But I think I’m in a lot better condition than last year, so I’m happy about that.
“I’m really looking forward to the summer. Getting to play at the new Olympic venue makes it doubly exciting, and of course we have EuroBasket to look forward to.”
“This weekend is a great opportunity to put in practice what we’ve worked on during the last week. It’ll also help our fitness and give us the chance to gel.”
The team will face Netherlands on Sunday afternoon, and despite having NBA pair Francisco Elson and Dan Gadzuric named in the 15-strong squad for the summer, neither are likely to suit up due to the ongoing NBA lockout.
In his sixth season as GB Head coach, Chris Finch is also looking forward to the weekend:
“The games in Cobham provide a great opportunity for the coaching to staff to assess our talent. With two quality opponents in the event, our players will need to perform well. We’ve had a good start to camp and now these games provide a great measuring stick for our players. I am looking forward to it.”
With Luol Deng now insured to play, and Ben Gordon’s insurance situation said to be “progressing well” according to BBC sport with a decision expected to be made today, Finch is excited about this year’s squad. Talking to BBC sport he said:
“Every year we’ve had a different squad and that’s kind of how it is. This year we have a chance to have an experienced squad with a bit of depth. Even our younger guys have a bit of experience from last year’s qualifying tournament.”
Currently ranked 23 in the world rankings, Nigeria will pose a tough test for GB on Tuesday. They have finished in the top five of the last eight African Championships, taking silver in 1997, 1999 and 2003, and were 13th in the 2002 World Championships and 14th in 2006.
And with the games expected to help Finch make cuts, and everyone having one eye on the London Olympics next year, point guard Flinder Boyd has said the competition for roster spots is heating up:
“There’s huge competition – it’s every athlete’s dream to be in the Olympics so it’ll be pretty heartbreaking for anybody who’s put in a lot of time not to be able to make it. Everybody’s working as hard as they can and trying to fit in with the team as much as they can.”
How are you feeling about this year’s team? And how confident are you of seeing Ben Gordon suit up for GB this summer? Drop a comment!
Image: Mansoor Ahmed