Valiant GB earn plaudits at EuroBasket

Great Britain left their mark at EuroBasket 2017, drawing praise for their ability to compete and admiration of their young core of future stars. Despite failing to record a victory in a campaign that ended at the group phase.

A strong first half led by Dan Clark and Gabe Olaseni gave Great Britain fans something to enjoy as they took their EuroBasket bow, but GB would lose 90-103 to Belgium in Istanbul to open up the tournament. lark – who has now played in all four EuroBasket finals GB have competed in, scored 20 points, while Olaseni in his major championship debut, offered up 21 points and eleven rebounds.

In front of energetic and hostile home support, Great Britain’s players did more than enough to show they can compete at EuroBasket in a 70-84 defeat to co-hosts Turkey. The team’s second outing in as many days. The margin of Britain’s defeat, while verging on the harsh side, does not reflect on the spirit shown by the players, ball movement and in particular, some sharp shooting from outside the arc especially in the first half. Gabe Olaseni finished with 15 points and fifteen rebounds, while Andrew Lawrence offered 15 points of his own.

An astonishing comeback from Great Britain almost forced one of the great turnaround victories against Latvia, who held on to win 97-92. An agonising third defeat for Great Britain. Gabe Olaseni completed another terrific personal performance, with 23 points and ten rebounds. Kyle Johnson had 18 points while fellow guards Teddy Okereafor and Andrew Lawrence having fine displays (12p/9ast, 11p/10ast respectively).

A record international points haul from Teddy Okereafor was the highlight for Great Britain, in the team’s penultimate showing, who went down to Serbia 68-82. The point guard shot 75% from the field, while Kyle Johnson added 13 point of his own, Luke Nelson 11 while Gabe Olaseni contributed 13 rebounds.

Great Britain went down 70-82 to Russia in their final game at FIBA EuroBasket 2017, but once again were within touching distance of a famous win. Dan Clark led GB scoring with 21 points, while Gabe Olaseni concluded his debut FIBA tournament as he started with an impressive performance producing 19 points and nine rebounds.

After the game, Olaseni – who averaged over 16 points and eleven rebounds in the tournament – explained he had been cut at U18 level. He paid tribute to Coach Prunty, who leaves the programme after four years following the change in FIBA’s season structure.

“For a lot of years, I didn’t want to play for my country. I was angry and upset. I was confused about why it happened. But then Coach Prunty came along, we developed a really good relationship – but my first two seasons as a pro , I was essentially fired from both my teams in Germany and in Italy.

“The time with the GB team is definitely the best of my short career and I give that to coach, Nate (Reinking) and all the other guys in the locker room. I’m going to use this as a confidence builder but this has been one of the best experience of my career.

Beyond the results, GB showed their future is bright. Competing for long stretches against Europe’s strongest outfits. Never dropping their heads. Never giving in. With more reps, GB’s young core will undoubtedly only develop further on the international stage.

Image / Source: GB Basketball