Great Britain men's national basketball team
|Great Britain GBR|
|FIBA ranking||22 1|
|FIBA zone||FIBA Europe|
|National federation||British Basketball Federation|
|FIBA World Cup|
|Appearances||3 (2009, 2011, 2013)|
The Great Britain men's national basketball team, known as Great Britain or GB, is the national team for Great Britain in basketball. The current governing body for the Great Britain team was formed by the national basketball organisations of England (England Basketball), Scotland (Basketballscotland) and Wales (Basketball Wales) on 1 December 2005 to provide a competitive team for international competition. This structure does not include the basketball association of Northern Ireland; Northern Irish players normally represent the Ireland national basketball team, though they are also eligible to compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the Summer Olympic Games.
The current team has two NBA players; Cleveland Cavaliers' forward Luol Deng, the first British player to play in an NBA All-Star Game, and Joel Freeland of the Portland Trail Blazers. In June 2013, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Joe Prunty was announced as the new coach, following the resignation of Chris Finch.
British teams have rarely made an impact on the international scene, only featuring in two Olympic games, both of which were hosted in London (1948 and 2012). The team at the 1948 tournament only won one game (vs. Ireland) and at the 2012 tournament only won one game (vs. China). However, the England national basketball team did qualify for EuroBasket 1981, surprisingly winning the game against the elite team of Greece.
After London won the right to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, the organisers wanted competitive teams at every sport, including basketball. The new Great Britain side was formed on 1 December 2005 from the existing teams from the UK. The new team secured the help of NBA's Chicago Bulls' star Luol Deng, and he led the team to promotion from EuroBasket Division B to Division A. FIBA had stated that Great Britain must prove their competitiveness prior to being granted the spot in the Olympic tournament that would normally be reserved for the host nation.
In Great Britain's first season at the Division A level in 2008, the team finished on top of a group which also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic and Israel to qualify for EuroBasket 2009.
During August 2010 Great Britain began their qualification campaign for EuroBasket 2011. Britain were drawn into a group containing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Macedonia and Ukraine. They finished top of their group and qualified for back to back EuroBasket tournaments for their first time.
On 13 March 2011, Fiba voted 17–3 in favour of Great Britain receiving their host nation spot at the 2012 Olympic games with one condition, they have until 30 June 2012 to decide on whether to merge the three nations that make up the team or disband after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
On 21 June 2012, Basketball Wales confirmed their intent to reject the proposed merger on the grounds that the arrangement was always intended to be temporary in the build-up to the London Olympics, and that it would not be in the best interests for the sport in Wales for the country to forfeit its national team, when the GB team contained no Welsh players.
At EuroBasket 2011 Great Britain recorded their first EuroBasket win en route to a 2–3 record, good enough for 13th in the first 24 team EuroBasket tournament.
In the final group game they faced China, both teams already unable to progress to the knockout stage. They won the game 90–58, making it only the second Olympic victory for Great Britain. Throughout the tournament Luol Deng played 173 minutes, more than any other player, and also came in the top ten for points and assists.
2012 Olympics squad
The 12 players selected for the Olympic tournament. Note that the players' details and clubs are those during the time of the games
|4||Kieron Achara||F||29||Assignia Manresa|
|5||Andrew Lawrence||G||22||College of Charleston Cougars|
|6||Mike Lenzly||G||31||CEZ Nymburk|
|7||Pops Mensah-Bonsu||F / C||28||Beşiktaş JK Istanbul|
|8||Andrew Sullivan||F||31||Leicester Riders|
|9||Luol Deng||F||27||Chicago Bulls|
|10||Robert Archibald||C||32||CAI Zaragoza|
|11||Joel Freeland||F||25||Portland Trail Blazers|
|12||Nate Reinking||G||38||Sheffield Sharks|
|13||Daniel Clark||F||23||CB Estudiantes|
|14||Kyle Johnson||G||23||APOEL B.C.|
|15||Eric Boateng||C||26||Peristeri B.C.|
Having participated in the previous Olympic tournament, Great Britain qualified automatically for EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia. They went into the tournament short-handed: Luol Deng was recovering from illness, Pops Mensah-Bonsu did not participate due to an injury and Joel Freeland was also absent, citing commitments with his club. Despite this, Great Britain won their first game against Israel in overtime, but subsequently lost to France and Belgium. Winning their fourth group game against favoured Germany put them on the verge of advancing to the second round of the tournament for the first time in their history. The team went into their final group game against Ukraine needing to win, but Ukraine had been performing better than expected and dispatched Britain 87–68. They finished equalling their record from the previous tournament, with Daniel Clark leading the team in scoring and defence.
Following their tournament exit it was announced that the governing body for British sports, UK Sport, were to cut the funding for the team after failing to reach the agreed-upon minimum final placing in the tournament. Funding from UK Sport would have been used to aid the team's efforts to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Following a defeat to Iceland on August 20 meant the team had failed to qualify for EuroBasket 2015. This outcome was partly attributed to British Basketball no longer receiving funding from UK Sport, efficiencies were having to be made, including cancelling training camps and being unable to call up players such as Luol Deng due to being unable to pay for insurance, which has in turn affected performance, and put the future of the Great Britain team in doubt. Forward Kieron Achara spoke out about how the financial struggles had affected the team.
Records and statistics
- Biggest win – 74–41 v Switzerland, 33 points, 11 September 2007
- Biggest defeat – 78–118 v USA, 40 points, 19 July 2012
- Longest winning streak – 6, 21 August 2007 to 15 September 2007
- Most points scored in a game by an individual player – Luol Deng, 38 points v Bosnia & Herzegovina, 26 August 2010
Summer Olympic Games
The roster for the EuroBasket 2015 qualifiers:
|Great Britain men's national basketball team roster|
Other notable players
- Great Britain women's national basketball team
- Great Britain men's national wheelchair basketball team
- British Basketball League
- England national basketball team
- Scotland national basketball team
- Wales national basketball team
- "Great Britain Appoint Prunty as Coach". [Eurobasket2013.org]. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Great Britain's men's and women's basketball teams to play in Olympics". The Guardian (London). 13 March 2011.
- "Men's Basketball". [London2012.com].
- "Great Britain Roster".
- Eurobasket2013.org. "Great Britain".
- BBC. "GB face funding cut after defeat".
- "Kieron Achara reveals £15-a-day struggle". BBC. 2014-08-19.