- National Teams
Luol Deng has called for British Basketball bosses to do more to ensure Great Britain has its strongest team on the floor every summer.
Since GB’s revival in 2006, they are yet to field a team at full strength, with the likes of NBA players Byron Mullens and Ben Gordon being no-shows year upon year.
“I’ve always said, we could be a great team, and could make a lot of noise in Europe,” he said in comments released to Press Association Sport.
“We certainly have the players to do it, in Joel (Freeland), Byron, Ben and myself. I just think it’s now up to GB to make that commitment, and show how much they want to go after those guys and make sure that they play.”
It is a problem that has plagued British Basketball and England Basketball from junior level right through to senior level in recent years, with players feeling little, to no affinity to the organisations that need them so desperately. It was only a matter of time before someone spoke out.
“With any player, it’s just like any other job, the more you show them attention and show them how interested you are, the more they want to play for you,” Deng continued.
“GB has to be in touch with these guys, and even hire somebody who can go and watch them every now and then.
“I currently don’t see that being done. If a guy comes over once a month, and makes a road trip to see all the GB players, and just keeps them updated, I think that’s an encouraging factor, that shows the players that you care.”
British Basketball Chairman Roger Moreland said he appreciated Deng’s views and they are doing what they can to improve.
“We know our players care deeply about GB as do we,” he told Press Association Sport. “We are constantly looking at every aspect of what we do to make things better.
“One of Joe Prunty’s biggest strengths is his ability to communicate and as an experienced NBA coach of long-standing, he is ideally placed to engage with the players in North America.
“Joel Freeland was publicly very complimentary recently about his conversations with Joe.
“Our national teams’ director, Warwick Cann, is also in regular communication with the players.
“The players are a top priority for us and we always look forward to discussing how we can, together, take GB on to an even higher level of achievement on and off the court.”
Image Credit: Mansoor Ahmed Photography