Nate Reinking is leading Great Britain into action against Ukraine in EuroBasket 2022 on Saturday but he spoke of the close ties in the basketball community when sharing his support for the people of Ukraine
Great Britain head coach Nate Reinking shared a message of support for the people of Ukraine ahead of Saturday’s game.
“I can’t imagine what those guys are going through. To me, family and friends are foremost and I imagine that’s the same with their minds. Hopefully this is a place where they can enjoy this moment personally inside those lines,” Reinking told BallinEurope.
“Our hearts go out to that country. Basketball is a small community, you can guarantee everybody involved is friends with somebody there. It hits around the world and it hits close especially to your friends within the community of basketball.”
Reinking, who is currently an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers and previously played internationally for Great Britain, said he is confident his group can perform well at the tournament despite being underdogs in Group C.
“I’m taking this game by game and making sure we’re competing. Our preparation coming into this with the World Cup qualifiers saw us take huge strides. These guys have put in the commitment and time to get GB back to this stage,” he said.
Great Britain’s opponents across the five games feature some of the biggest individual talents on the continent and Reinking is well aware of the task before his side.
“It’s an elite level but this is a special group with Great Britain. In these sort of tournaments, chemistry carries you a long way. We’re just going to take that underdog approach into each game.”
Team captain Dan Clark said he felt the recent World Cup qualifiers, including a close loss at home to Latvia, helped prepare his side for the tournament ahead.
“We’re extremely excited to be here. We’ve got an extreme belief that we can make some noise at EuroBasket 2022 and that starts tomorrow against Ukraine. On paper, we know who the favourites in our group our, but after that it’s up for grabs,” Clark said.
“Those games were a good experience for the young guys to see what the level was like to play against some of the best players in the world. Allowing the younger guys to play those type of players before we get to a bigger stage can help them be fully prepared to perform at this level.”
Clark is hopeful the greater number of games the national side is playing and appearances at major tournaments will aid in the growth of basketball back home.
“From the coaches to the players and staff, all around the team, we’re well aware of the importance and relevance it could have to the growth of basketball in the UK if the national team starts to become a focal point when basketball is talked about in the UK,” he said.
“At the moment it’s not but that’s something that will help with the growth of the league and the growth of the game from the grassroots.”