Great -Britain and basketball is still two different worlds for a lot of traditional basketball fans. But they can be the surprise of a very open qualifying group for the 2009 Eurobasket.
In a recent article on the British eurosport website, Luol Deng was explaining why he sees chances to go to Poland in 2009.
There’s a lot of new players from Great Britain and we’re trying to get ourselves on the map and show people we can play. It’s a big challenge for us, this is somewhere we haven’t been before but we definitely feel like we belong so we don’t want to go up and then come straight back down. We want to prove to a lot of people that we’re here to stay.
But the team of coach Chris Finch who is also coaching the Belgian team Mons-Hainaut, is not all about Luol Deng. While some players like Joel Freeland, who has been drafted by Portland two years ago and is actually playing fro Gran Canaria in Spain, will join the team and have some responsibilities, the main questions remains about the possibility to see some other London born NBA basketball players join.
Ben Gordon and Kelenna Azubuike are the two major targets of the British Performance Basketball organization who is behind the National team. While the first one has still to be convinced to join for an eventual Olympic participation (according to the article, the British basketball has to prove that it is competitive in order to participate at the 2012 London Olympics, something that I can not remember ever happened that the host nation did not participate), the case of Azubuike is more complex because his passport request was denied in December 2007.
But still, with the addition of Robert Archibald, Pops Mensah-Bonsu or Dan Clark and Nick George who actually play in Spain and with a very open group (Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic), everything is possible. And me personally, I would love to see them qualify in order to bring some kind of freshness to the competition and also in order to promote basketball in a country that could have a very interesting potential in terms of basketball.
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