- National Teams
Head coach Steve Bucknall has named his final England Under-18 12-man roster that will be competing at the Division A European Championships that begins in Latvia on Thursday.
The team, predominantly made up of the 1995 born generation that led both the England Under-16s and Under-18s to Division A promotion over the last two years, will be looking to make their mark this summer, with it being the first time they get to compete in Europe’s top division.
Led by UC Irvine commit Luke Nelson and Unicaja Malaga rising star Mo Soluade, along with 7’0″ defensive presence Kingsley Okoroh, who split time this season between Findlay Prep and Derby Trailblazers, the side has had some impressive performances in preparation games, including a second place finish at Future Stars International Basketball Tournament and a 3-0 tournament in Italy against Division A competition.
The final roster is as follows:
(teams as of last season)
Jules Dang Akodo, Union Olimpija
Morayo Soluade, Unicaja Malaga
Luke Nelson, Reading Rockets
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye, Bristol Academy Flyers
Tyrell Isaacs, Westminster Warriors
Ben Mead, Ipswich Tomcats
Dwayne Orija, Westminster Warriors
Tamas Okros, Bristol Academy Flyers
Kingsley Okoroh, Derby Trailblazers
Ben Lawson, Hemel Storm
Terr’el Martin-Garcia, Westminster Warriors
Kavell Bigby-Williams, Lewisham Thunder
“We started the program with a number of camps which assisted us in evaluation and also aided us in developing the team systems and philosophies going forward,” commented head coach Steve Bucknall.
“Included in are preparations were a number of tournaments home and abroad which provided competitive situations and further evaluation of our squad thus far. The squad depth has been impressive over the preparation stage and we have been able to see 20 plus players in different situations against international competition.
“All the preparation games have been important to us, but I believe that the Future Stars Tournament showed that we can compete against Division A opponents.
“Kavell Bigby-Williams and Ben Lawson have both been a find for us. This has been their first selection into the England elite player pathway and both have progressed well over the course of the preparation stage.
“Two names in Group D speak for themselves with Croatia and Turkey being the standout teams, not only in our group, but I believe in the tournament! Both have rich heritage in these competitions and a history of doing well.
“Ukraine are a Division A standard program and have quality and depth in their team. Overall, we are in a difficult group with top teams to play against at every stage and we must be at our best just to keep things even!”
England begin their campaign on Thursday at 7pm BST against Turkey. Drawn in Group D, they will also face Ukraine and Croatia in the opening round. Stay tuned to Hoopsfix for updates!