Drew Sullivan Announces Retirement from International Basketball - Hoopsfix.com

Drew Sullivan Announces Retirement from International Basketball

Great Britain stalwart and captain Drew Sullivan has officially announced his retirement from international basketball, as first reported by MVP Magazine.

Having picked up his 100th cap last summer in a friendly against New Zealand, the 36 year old feels it is time to hang up the boots in what he has described as an “incredibly difficult” decision.

“This was a massively tough decision and something that I went back and forth on, for quite a while,” he said.

“I’m going to miss representing my country and wearing the Great Britain vest. I’ll miss going out and playing with the guys that I’ve been with for over a decade. You build relationships with them when you’re in the trenches together and it’s going to be tough to see them playing when I’m not in the locker room, on the bench or in warmups.”

“But I’ve enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I want the national team to be successful. I want them to be a team that we can be proud of.”

“Obviously London 2012 is the easy highlight to pick out, but going out and playing with guys who I grew up with, there’s nothing like doing that alongside your friends. Obviously, you play on different teams and you become friends. But I knew that I’d walk into the team with 11 other friends on the bench. I knew Luol, Pops, Rob (Archibald) and got to know Nate more through the national team. That’s probably the biggest highlight.”

For the pass 10 years I've been incredibly lucky to live a dream representing Great Britain. I've had the chance to pull on our National Team's colours 100, played in 3 European Championships, and an Olympic Games in 2012, but most of all I've enjoyed playing on the same teams as some of my closest friends. Words can't begin to describe my passion for representing my country time and again. With all of this amazing experiences at some point they have to come to an end. Today I'd like to officially announce my international retirement. I can honestly say that this has been an extremely difficult decision for me. It's something that I've gone back and forth with over the course of this season. And at the end of the day u had to be honest with myself. And decided it was time. I'd like to thank all the fans, and the coaching staff that have made the pass 10 years an incredible ride. Most of all I'd like to thank my team mates over the years. I'd like to especially thank @luoldeng9 , @popsmbonsu @danclarkcamp @adrlawrence, Nate Reinking, Mike Lenzley, Andy Betts, @robertarchibald. With out a doubt I've enjoyed every moment there's too many to single out. Again thank you to every one involved with creating some many great memories #TeamGB #10years #mycountry #proud #honour #captain #gbbasketball

A photo posted by drewsullivan8 (@drewsullivan8) on

Sullivan’s decision to call it at a day marks the end of an era, with his 100 games coming from a possible 113 over the last ten years. 45 of them were in either EuroBasket or during the 2012 Olympic Games and when the heat was on competitively, he was 1st in offensive rebounds and 2nd in assists, steals and minutes on court.

Sullivan is the only current player involved in GB’s first training session of the modern era in 2006, with GB assistant coach Nate Reinking another. His standout performance statistically speaking, came early on when he dominated Belarus in a 2007 EuroBasket qualifier with 18 points, 6 assists and 3 blocks.

He starred in GB’s successful promotion campaign to get Great Britain out of Division B, averaging 10.6 points per game. The following season, Drew helped Great Britain to qualify for its first EuroBasket in 2009.

Sullivan was there again in 2011, where a developing team impressed and only missed out narrowly on the knockout stages. A further appearance at EuroBasket came in 2013, after an Olympic campaign at London 2012 in which he helped GB pushed eventual silver medallists Spain all the way and then beat China in their final game.

He says he will look back on pride on the strides the team have made in recent years.

“We have to admit it that it was an uphill struggle to get to where we wanted to get to and then there was a bit of a decline. There’s still a lot of guys who are really committed to the Great Britain team and they’re doing their best to try to turn things around.

“Dan Clark is one of them and he’s also one of my best friends. I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s done within Great Britain programme because he’s been there when everything said he shouldn’t have competed for us and that’s on more than one summer. That’s because he has a massive amount of pride in the GB vest.”

Great Britain senior men’s head coach Joe Prunty was one of a number of figures in the British game to pay tribute to one of its favourite sons.

“Drew’s 100 caps in British basketball are unparalleled, but that only begins to tell his story,” said Prunty, who is also Assistant Coach at the Milwaukee Bucks.

“He has made an invaluable commitment year after year to his Great Britain teammates, the programme, and the Federation.”

“Drew certainly will be missed. He has been a leader, a Captain, an Olympian and so much more. His imprint on British basketball does not end in retirement, but rather marks a moment in time when we reflect on all the great things he has helped the programme accomplish.”

Prior to his GB career, Drew performed valiantly for England, winning a bronze medal in 2006 at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and was named as part of the all-tournament team.

Despite hanging up his international vest, Sullivan will continue in next season’s British Basketball League, having recently agreed a two year contract with the Leicester Riders.

Great Britain will shortly name their initial roster for September’s EuroBasket Qualifiers which begins with a trip to Hungary on Wednesday August 31st.

There then follow three successive home games at London’s Copper Box, with FYR Macedonia first to arrive on Saturday September 3rd, followed by Luxembourg on Wednesday September 7th and Hungary on Saturday September 10th. Tickets are available for all three games.

Great Britain conclude their Group G to the Arena Jasmin for their return fixture with FYR Macedonia on Wednesday September 14th and to Luxembourg on Saturday September 17th. All group winners and the best four runners-up will reach the EuroBasket Finals which take place in Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey next year.

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