Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan believes his side can spring an upset at the Eurobasket finals and advance its credibility ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Chris Finch’s men have settled into their five-star hotel in Warsaw with minds now turning towards plotting a route through the first phase and the subsequent daunting challenges of Serbia and world champions Spain.
Sullivan, one of just three survivors from the start of the qualifying process in 2006, concedes Britain are the rank outsiders. However the belated inclusion of Houston Rockets forward Pops Mensah Bonsu sends a message that his team are on the rise.
“Pops came in late but he showed last year what a force he can be on the court,” Sullivan said. “He’s potentially as effective as any player in the finals. If you look at our front court, we have guys who have played at the highest levels in Europe and in the NBA. It’s not going to be easy against any of these teams but we feel there’s an opportunity to go in and show what we are capable of.”
The role of captain, he admits, is largely a ceremonial one, particularly with the arrival of the ever-loquacious Mensah Bonsu.
“Having him helps a lot,” Sullivan acknowledges. “He’s a really vocal person. I’ll do my leadership by example by talking to guys on the court. But with Pops here, we’ll get leadership from him and me.
“I’m not a talker. I try to lead by example, playing hard. I understand there are guys who have specific roles that aren’t what they normally do so I try to make them feel more comfortable by giving them support. The way I play during the season is very different to the national team. You make sacrifices which can be difficult at times but that’s a great challenge for all of us.”