- National Teams
At last month’s adidas EUROCAMP in Italy, we caught up with former GB senior men’s head coach Chris Finch to reflect upon his time at the helm of the national side.
The 44-year-old play-caller resigned from his role, which he’d had since the inception of the programme, following the 2012 Olympics, but looks back with nothing but fond memories. He told Hoopsfix:
“There’s a lot of great memories and I can’t thank the guys and the organisation enough for what they gave to the programme. It was a phenomenal basketball experience for the country. All the basketball community pulled in the right direction for a long period of time.”
It’s coming up to two years since Finch decided to step down, but he admits he still keeps a close eye on his former charges and believes the Olympic legacy is the extra confidence the players now have.
“I still follow the team, results and the players who are playing all over,” he said. “I think we left a good platform for which to build and I think we saw that last year at the European Championships. They played with the confidence that they belonged at this level. The legacy is that when our players step out on to the court, they believe they can compete at the highest level.”
GB preparations were hit with funding cuts earlier this year, but Finch believes progression can still be made and views the Olympics as major factor in instilling confidence across the national sides.
“Unfortunately with the funding cuts, structures and preparations will have to be altered accordingly, but I feel confident that they will be able to solve those issues. I’m really proud. Our youth teams, women and men all go out and expect to win and they are all competing more consistently than they ever have done. If it wasn’t for the Olympic experience, we wouldn’t be there and it’s a far leap from where we were ten years ago. These things take time and in ten more years, there’s nothing that says we can’t be more relevant in the European basketball community.”
The Olympics saw history made by both the men and women’s senior sides, but Finch still believes his side can have gone even further. He said:
“We did a great job qualifying for the Euro’s and winning in the Olympics, but we were hoping to have done a little better…the Australian game in the Olympics was a hard one because we had the chance to win that, which would have put us through.”
Finch, like current head-coach Joe Prunty, had other responsibilities during his six-year tenure with GB, which included a lead coaching position at D-League side Rio Grande Valley Vipers as well as his current role as assistant with the Houston Rockets.
And he believes that the level of coaching in the UK is something that should be targeted.
“I still believe in the game in the UK. There’s a lot of raw talent, but I think the coaching community needs help. We need to pull together a better structure. It’s time to re-direct our energy to the coaches. Educating coaches, getting better coaches and coaches working at all levels.”
Finch also gave his opinion on the eligibility debate regarding GB passports.
“If you have a passport, you’re British. Who is to say that someone is more British than anyone else. Countries do it all over. Britain is not just handing out passports to play.”
Watch the full interview above.