- National Teams
By Will Piper at Sportsbeat
Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan believes a new generation of young stars have what it takes to drive his side to new heights this summer.
And the international veteran has singled out up-and-coming forward Myles Hesson as the man to shine during this month’s EuroBasket 2015 qualifiers against Iceland and Bosnia.
Sullivan, 32, who has featured in three previous EuroBasket campaigns, will lead the team out again over the coming weeks and is tipping Giessen 46ers star Hesson to impress.
GB are expecting to be without Luol Deng for the games, but Sullivan is confident the side won’t miss the NBA All-Star such is the impact Hesson has made over the past 12 months.
“Obviously we’d love for Luol to be involved in the programme, but if he doesn’t join up then Myles is a heck of replacement,” said Sullivan, who helped the Leicester Riders to BBL Cup success last season.
“I think that Myles was the revelation of the team last summer and that’s continued this year, I only see bright things in his future.
“It’s massively important that some of the younger guys are getting an opportunity in this squad. Last year was the best we’ve ever done at EuroBasket and that was with a less experienced side with less recognisable names, so those individuals that competed are in a good position to be important players this year.
“You always want to play your most experienced players but with the talent that’s here it would be hard to say that some of the younger guys can’t help to make this one of the best teams that GB has ever put out.”
A week later they host Iceland at 7.30pm at the Copper Box before completing the four-match series in Sarajevo against Bosnia on August 24.
Neither side are in the top 50 of the FIBA World Rankings but despite Sullivan insists that both teams can cause his side problems.
“Bosnia are a very deep team, they have a lot of talent and a couple of guys that have played in the NBA and in the Development League,” he said.
“This will be the first time that I will have played against Iceland. I don’t know much about them but I would guess that they are a very typical European team. We know that we’re going to be in a dog fight from the start but I think that with the squad we have, we’re more than prepared for that.
“It’s massively important that we qualify for EuroBasket next summer. It’s massively important for the next generation of players that are coming through that we play in a major championship.
“We definitely have the talent to compete in these qualifiers. We understand that we’re going into a four-game tournament with two very talented teams but the mainstay of this programme is that we have a bunch of guys who will fight tooth and nail for the jersey.
“We’re not going to give either team anything easily. I think that often when teams have beaten us they walk off with a new found respect for Great Britain, they understand that they’ve been in a dog fight and I think if we can take that mentality into these qualifiers then we’ll be in a good position.”
Great Britain take on Iceland and Bosnia & Herzegovina in the qualifiers for EuroBasket 2015 later this month. You can book tickets for GB’s home games at the Copper Box at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Wednesday 13th August and Wednesday 20th August. Tickets are available via www.theticketfactory.com or 0844 338 8000.