Team Britain may not be playing EuroBasket 2009 with Luol Deng and Ben Gordon, but at least they’ve got … Jamie Vanderbeken.
Vanderbeken’s decision was actually something of a lifetime commitment: The 23-year-old was feeling a bit pressed to choose between his father’s home country of Canada and Britain, due to his Scottish’s mother’s citizenship.
Vanderbeken reportedly chose to side with Team Britain due to the opportunity to “launch his international career immediately,” and the medium-term goal is to play for Team Britain in the 2012 Olympics. He also was pumped to be playing with Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Robert Archibald.
The forward is currently at Iowa State, where he last season went for 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
In addition to Vanderbeken, Team Britain’s expanded roster for EuroBasket 2009 includes Kieron Achara (Angelico Biella); Robert Archibald (Unicaja); Andrew Betts (Aris Thessaloniki); Flinder Boyd (Beirasar Rosalia); Daniel Clark (Estudiantes); Germanyne Forbes (BBC Nyon); Joel Freeland (Unicaja); Nick George (Gravelines Dunkerque); Randall Hanke (Providence College); Jarrett Hart (Keravnos); Mike Lenzly (Harem Scafati); Steve Leven (West Brabant Giants); Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Toronto Raptors); Nate Reinking (Dexia Mons-Hainaut); Justin Robinson (Rider University); Andrew Sulivan (CSK VVS Samara).
(FIBAEurope.com) – Jamie Vanderbeken has committed his future to Great Britain after being named in Chris Finch’s initial 17-man EuroBasket squad last week.
The Canadian center qualifies for Great Britain through his Scottish mother, and said he happy to pass up the chance to play for Canada in order to launch his international career immediately and try to help Great Britain towards their goal of playing on home soil at the 2012 London Olympics.
“Even if I don’t make (the final 12-man squad), the competition I’ll be playing against in try-outs alone will be beneficial to bring what I learned back here,” said Vanderbeken, who is currently playing at Iowa State University.
“It’ll give me a chance, if I have questions, to ask guys about it: Pops Mensah-Bonsu, [Robert] Archibald, a bunch of other guys who played in the US and Europe. It’s a great opportunity. Just being able to play on any national team would be a real honour. I will go there and do my best. I am just trying to make the most of it, to get exposure to make the team.”
Vanderbeken will get his chance to impress when Great Britain host Poland, Turkey and Israel at the GameOn tournament in London later this month.
Great Britain will then play in EuroBasket warm-up tournaments in Spain and Turkey before Finch names his final squad.
“Even if I don’t make the team this year, I want to leave a good impression so I can come back next year, make the team by [London] 2012,” Vanderbeken added.
Great Britain have been drawn against Spain, Slovenia and Serbia in Group C at the EuroBasket.
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