Great Britain veteran Andy Betts believes his side can flourish in Eurobasket’s group of death, if the side’s little guys can produce some big performances when the finals begin on Monday in Poland.
The Leicester-born centre, the side’s most-capped performer, acknowledges that GB’s hopes of recording an upset against the might of Slovenia, Serbia and world champions Spain rests squarely on the shoulders of a talented front line that includes three NBA Draft picks and two with experience of the American league.
With coach Chris Finch preparing to confirm his 12-man roster, the inconsistency of Britain’s guards will provide the greatest headache. And the XXL-sized tandem of Robert Archibald, Joel Freeland, Pops Mensah Bonsu and Betts himself cannot produce results on their own despite an offense which is being re-shaped to take full advantage of the quartet.
“Anyone who looks at our roster can see that the big guys are playing at a higher level than the rest of the team,” Betts admitted. “That will undoubtedly be our strength. We need to firm up how the forwards and centres play together and what combinations are used. But the guards have a big role because they have to be able to score from the outside and defend solidly. Otherwise, opponents will just focus on the bigs and shut us down.
“Everyone knows the difficulties of the group we have. If we’d had a different draw, maybe everyone would be more optimistic. But our objective has to be to get out of the first round this year. We can’t look any further.”
The Leicester-born star knows how far GB has come since the unified side came into existence, just three years ago. It is, he says, a far cry from the days when national duty meant roughing it.
“I was around when they brought Pot Noodles on overseas trips to feed the team,” the Aris centre declares. “The level of professionalism grows every year. We have some ways to go but they take feedback from us and it’s now a great programme to be a part of.”