British Basketball has today announced the 21-man preliminary roster that will be battling it out for a place in the Great Britain squad that will be competing at the London 2012 Olympics.
The preliminary squad is headlined by NBA players, Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons) and Byron Mullens (Charlotte Bobcats) who have have all confirmed their availability and commitment to put on the GB jersey this summer.
Gordon has voiced his desire to be part of the British Basketball programme for a number of years, but has yet to step on court for his country. Today’s announcement confirms his commitment to the side. Gordon commented:
“I am very excited to pull on the GB jersey this summer and play for my country. To be invited into camp is the first step in that journey and I am immensely proud to have the opportunity.
“I am totally committed to playing with the Standard Life GB team this year and look forward to being part of the squad hoping to make 2012 a year to remember for British Basketball fans.”
Also returning to action for GB is power forward, Pops Mensah Bonsu who is having a stand-out season in Turkey with Besiktas, winning the National Cup as well as getting to the EuroChallenge final four.
Joining him in the preliminary GB squad, and hoping to be part of the team’s training camp in Houston this summer are established national team players Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald who have also enjoyed strong seasons in Spain’s top flight and will be aiming for a final berth in Finch’s squad
2011 alumni, Kyle Johnson, Andrew Lawrence, Alex Marcotullio, Ryan Richards, and Devon van Oostrum also make it into the preliminary squad and will want to demonstrate their credentials on the big stage.
Former under-20 player, Ovie Soko is also included in the preliminary squad.
Sullivan Phillips who plays with Prievidza in Slovakia is the only entirely new addition to the roster outside of Mullens; the 33 year old Bermuda born guard/forward has been twice Defensive Player of the Year in his stints with teams in both Hungary and Cyprus, whilst also having had time in the BBL.
Standard Life GB head coach, Finch commented:
“The GB basketball programme has come a long way since 2006 and the blend we have now of experienced talent with the younger guys is fantastic to see. We have the potential for a world class team who will surprise a few people this summer. The commitment from all our players to the programme once again is great and it’s also good to see our strength and depth continuing to increase year on year.”
The preliminary squad of 21 players will be cut down to 16 at the beginning of May with two additional places available for Futures team players. The final roster of 12 players heading to the Olympic Games this summer will then be announced early in July when the team returns to the UK from training camp in Houston, USA.
Full details of the 21 players in the preliminary squad are below:
Kieron Archara, (Manresa, Spain)
Ogo Adegboye (Apoel, Cyprus)
Robert Archibald (Zaragoza, Spain)
Eric Boateng (Peristeri, Greece)
Matthew Bryan-Amaning (Hacettepe, Turkey)
Dan Clark (Estudiantes, Spain)
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls, USA)
Joel Freeland (Unicaja, Spain)
Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons, USA)
Kyle Johnson (Apoel, Cyprus)
Mike Lenzly (CEZ Nymburk, Czech Republic)
Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston, USA)
Alex Marcotullio (Northwestern, USA)
Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Besiktas, Turkey)
Byron Mullens (Charlotte Bobcats, USA)
Sullivan Phillips (Prievidza, Slovakia)
Nate Reinking (Sheffield Sharks, UK)
Ryan Richards (Unattached)
Ovie Soko (University of Alabama-Birmingham USA)
Andrew Sullivan (Leicester Riders, UK)
Devon van Oostrum (Tarragona, Spain)
The likes of Justin Robinson, Ashley Hamilton, and Laurence Ekperigin have all missed out, whilst Will Neighbour was forced to sit out this summer after opting to have shoulder surgery.
Thoughts? Predictions for the final 12?
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