- National Teams
Philadelpia 76ers big man Spencer Hawes has revealed how Luol Deng tried to recruit him to play for Great Britain in the run up to the Olympics.
“It was a couple of years ago and we were both in the weight room before a game chatting back and forth and he threw out a little recruitment pitch but I respectfully declined,” Hawes said, whilst speaking to the press in Europe as part of NBA Global Games 2013. “I’m all stars and stripes.”
The 7’1″ centre has family links to the UK but seemed uncertain of specifics.
“It’s just family heritage. There is a town called Hawes a little north of Manchester I believe,” he continued. “I’ve got to check that out when I’m in Manchester next week and see the namesake.”
It has become increasingly prevalent in Europe in recent years for federations to recruit foreign-born athletes eligible for a passport, or those born domestically but end up leaving the country extremely young.
British Basketball has come under fire for this strategy, having unsuccessfully pursued the likes of Ben Gordon, Byron Mullens, Darren Collison, Dante Cunningham and Kelenna Azubuike since the organisation’s revival in 2006.
Despite turning down the invitation, Hawes showed his respect to the GB programme and Luol:
“One of our video coordinators last year worked with them (GB) and he’s told us a lot about his summer times with them and it’s certainly a programme on the rise,” he added. “Obviously Luol is a great player. Over the last few years he’s had a few issues injury wise and he’s always battled through them and played through them. You’ve got to respect a guy like that. He is a good teammate to have.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder take on Hawes’ Philadelphia 76ers at the Phones 4u Arena on Oct. 8th as part of NBA Global Games 2013. Tickets are available at www.eventim.co.uk.
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