NBA star Ben Gordon has committed his future to the GB team starting this summer as GB look to qualify for the 2011 EuroBasket Championships. The Detroit Pistons guard will join up with the rest of the roster in early July, that also includes Glasgow Rocks guard Rob Yanders and Spanish-based prodigy Devon Van Oostrum. However there is no place for veteran centre Andy Betts.
Alongside Gordon and Deng, will be the usual mix of experience and youth, as the GB team look to take the next step towards London 2012, starting with a challenging EuroBasket qualifying campaign. Home and away fixtures will be played against Macedonia, Hungary, Ukraine and Bosnia & Herzegovina from the 2 - 29 August. It was recently announced that the GB men's and women's team will stage two double headers at the NIA Birmingham on 14 August and Echo Arena on 26 August, with further fixtures at the NIA and the soon to be opened £30 million 'Sport Central' facility at Northumbria University.
London born Gordon is looking forward to making his GB debut and joining up with the rest of the roster: "I am delighted to have committed myself to GB for this summer and beyond. I have heard a lot from Luol about the team and where we are going, so I am excited about the prospect of pulling on the GB vest. I have been in discussion with British Basketball for a while now, but various things have stopped me being able to fully commit, however I am now settled with the Pistons and the time is right."
GB Head Coach Chris Finch is looking forward to having Ben Gordon's influence in the roster and thinks it's another example of the team moving in the right direction:
"The news of Ben's inclusion is great for the team as he will bring considerable experience to the group. Over the last few years with the Bulls and more recently the Pistons, he has excelled in the NBA, so it's great to be able to include him in the roster. We have always been aware of this desire to play for the team, but unfortunately things didn't quite come together, however this year everything has worked out.
"We have a challenging summer programme ahead, so myself and the rest of the coaching team will be looking to get Ben settled in the team as quickly as possible to enable him to bring his considerable talent to the team. For me the inclusion of Ben is just another great example of the progress British Basketball has been making in the last few years, and I truly believe we are pulling together a very talented roster of players."
Chris Finch will select approximately 16 players from this group to attend training camp in July.
GB Standard Life Senior Men's Squad List:
Achara, Kieron - Angelico Biella ITA
Archibald, Robert - Unicaja Malaga, ESP
Boateng, Eric - Arizona State University, USA
Boyd, Flinder - Ourense Balonceto, ESP
Bryan-Amaning, Matthew - University of Washington, USA
Clark, Dan - Estudiantes, ESP
Deng, Luol - Chicago Bulls, USA
Forbes, Jermayne - BBC Nyon, SWI
Freeland, Joel - Unicaja Malaga, ESP
George, Nick - Fastweb CM, ITA
Gordon, Ben - Detroit Pistons, USA
Hart, Jarrett - Keravnos, CYP
Larkai, Flo - Hamamatsu Phoenix, JPN
Lenzly, Mike - CEZ Nymburk, CZE
Mensah-Bonsu, Pops - CSKA Moscow, RUS
Reinking, Nate - Mons Hainaut, BEL
Robinson, Justin - Rider University, USA
Sullivan, Andrew - Newcastle Eagles, ENG
Toney, Tafari - Sheffield Sharks, ENG
Van Oostrum, Devon - Caja Laboral, ESP
Yanders, Rob - Scottish Rocks, SCO