Great Britain assistant coach Tim Lewis insists a place in next year’s FIBA World Championships in Turkey would provide a massive boost to the sport – even if the chances of earning a wild-card are deemed slim at best.
FIBA’s executive committee, who are meeting this weekend in Turkey ahead of Tuesday’s draw, will vote on Sunday on which four nations will fill the vacant places in the 24-nation event.
FIBA states it will take into account "Sporting Aspects", based on the popularity of basketball in the country, previous international results and the ‘quality of work’ by the National Federation. It also will factor in the potential economic benefits from television and other commercial revenues.
With no track record, and little chance of a lucrative TV deal in the UK, it puts Britain behind luminaries such as Russia, Germany, Israel and Lithuania with a maximum of three European sides to be added.
However Lewis is hoping that the draw of bringing the 2012 Olympic hosts into the fold might cast a spell over the voters.
“Everybody would love to compete at the world championships,” said the Essex Pirates coach. “When we started out playing those B Division games four years ago, nobody would even though we’d have had a chance to do that. It would be a great opportunity. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
“The chances are slim but in our favour is 2012 and the way we’ve come through stuff. Despite those losses at the Euros, we were right there with teams. And people recognise we were without Luol Deng and Ben Gordon who would make a big difference to us.”