Head Coach James Vear has confirmed his final 12-man squad for the Great Britain Under-16 that will be competing at the Division B European Championship this week in Sarajevo.
The squad, which was selected ahead of their two game series against France this weekend, depart from Sarajevo today before opening up the Europeans on Thursday against Ireland.
Former Ipswich shooting guard Veron Eze makes the cut as a returner after a year in Italy, and former Kent guard Segun Shodunke also gets the nod after a year in Spain.
Haringey Hawks point guard Alex Distras gets a spot, as do London Lewisham Thunder duo Malachi Boayke-Yiadom and Josh Uduje.
Daijuan Antonio, who has enjoyed a season in Italy with Trieste, and Reading Rockets’ centre Matt Marsh – who joins Barcelona next season – are included along with Manchester Magic forward Saul May and Giants’ Victor Faroukou.
Also in camp are Sussex Storm guard Cameron Hildreth, Northamptonshire Titans’ Sam Grant, and Myerscough’s Amari Williams.
“I’ve been impressed with everyone; they’ve all bought in, from 1-12, in the style we want to play,” Vear said of the squad when talking to Hoopsfix on Sunday after their preparation game against France.
“Veron has been very impressive, spending a year away, he’s matured a lot, he’s our captain and done a great job of leading the team. Matt Marsh has shown glimpses of why Barcelona have signed him, and Segs (Shodunke) has been a great as well, a year in spain, he’s come back, matured a lot and had some great games scoring-wise. We’ve got a good group of players and we have some depth there as well.”
Look ahead to the tournament, Vear said that though of course promotion is the goal, they are focusing on taking it a game at a time.
“We don’t really talk about promotion,” he said. “We talk about staying in the moment, taking it game by game and trying to get better every day in what we do. The format is tough in Div B; we’ve gotta finish top 2 to progress, all we’re thinking about right now is that first game against Ireland and see how we go from there.”
And with both the U18 and U20 men experiencing success as they retained their Division A status this summer, Vear says it is no doubt serving as inspiration for his guys.
“We’ve been using it as inspiration,” he added. “You see the crowd today (on Sunday vs France, 300+) as well, we have U20 players here to watch, Senior men – Kieron Achara has recorded a video message, Carl Wheatle is here to talk to the players after the game.
“We take great inspiration from what Alan and Marc Steutel have both done – an amazing job – and that will inspire our players at the European Championship too.”
(teams from the 2017-18 season)
Daijuan Antonio, Trieste (ITA)
Malachi Boayke-Yiadom, London Lewisham Thunder
Alex Distras, Haringey Hawks
Veron Eze, Stella Azzura Roma (ITA)
Victor Faroukou, Manchester Giants
Sam Grant, Northamptonshire Titans
Cameron Hildreth, Sussex Storm
Matthew Marsh, Reading Rockets
Saul May, Manchester Magic
Oluwasegun Shodunke, Canterbury Academy (ESP)
Josh Uduje, London Lewisham Thunder
Amari Williams, Mansfield Giants
Head Coach: James Vear
Assistant Coach: Craig Nicol
Assistant Coach: Ieuan-Alex Jones
Physiotherapist: Aynkaran Vigneswarn
Development Coach: Matthew Guymon
Support Physio: Charlotte Page
Team Manager: Howard Leighton
(UK tip times)
Thursday August 9th: Ireland v Great Britain, 1.15pm
Friday August 10th: Great Britain v Romania, 3.30pm
Saturday August 11th: Luxembourg v Great Britain, 3.30pm
Monday August 13th: Great Britain v Portugal, 8.00pm
Tuesday August 14th: Sweden v Great Britain, 3.30pm
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