Thursday, 12 August 2010

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Dan Clark fires GB to 3-0 start with win in Bosnia

23 points from Estudiantes forward Dan Clark led Great Britain to an 84-80 win over Bosnia in Sarajevo last night which sent the side top of their European Championship qualifying group.

Chris Finch’s men now head for Birmingham on Saturday to face Ukraine, who defeated Hungary 80-71, and although they were forced to battle right to the finish, a third victory from three ties puts them in pole position to reach next year’s finals in Lithuania.

“This was a tough game,” said Clark. “Bosnia were coming off of a loss on the road and they played well in the first half. We played tough down the stretch."

GB made life difficult for themselves when they fell 11 behind in the opening quarter. With in-form Clark converting his first eight shots, they fought back but Bosnia responded to grab a 48-41 lead at half-time.

A flurry from Nate Reinking and Clark drew the visitors level early in the third and after Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng opened up a three-point lead, their rivals quickly responded to send the tie into the fourth period deadlocked at 64-64.

However in a tight finale, Clark sank two late free throws to put GB ahead for good with a minute left and Reinking, who had 21, hit the clinching scores in the dying seconds to give GB captain Drew Sullivan a victory to go with his record-breaking 50th cap.

“It’s a heck of an achievement,” said Finch. ”Drew and Nate have been here since day one. He’s been an inspirational captain and a great leader and if you’re going to build a team, it’s around guys like him.”

Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each finished with 16 points, with the latter pulling down 13 rebounds.

Ratko Varda led the Bosnians with 20 points, while Kenan Bajramovic had 16 and Henry Domercant 14.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Drew Sullivan wants to mark Great Britain caps record with victory in Bosnia

Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan has insisted that he wants to mark his record 50th cap with a win against Bosnia tonight in Sarajevo.

The Newcastle forward, who has been in sparkling form, is set to overtake Bill McInnes’ long-standing mark for the most GB appearances in the European Championship qualifier in Sarajevo.

However after remaining unbeaten in their opening two ties against Hungary and Macedonia, Sullivan – who is just one cap in front of Nate Reinking - claims a victory would put Chris Finch’s men firmly on track to reach next summer’s finals in Lithuania.

“It’s a great honour,” he said. “Nate’s only one behind me but it’s pretty special to get the record. The main thing is that we beat Bosnia and go 3-0. It would put us in control of the group. But we when you see the teams ahead of us, we know everyone’s competitive so we have to continue to push right to the end of the qualifiers. We’re looking to finish up 8-0 or 7-1.”

Finch concedes he is looking for a greater contribution from his reserves, with Kieron Achara responding to criticism from the GB coach by hitting a critical three-pointer in Sunday’s overtime victory over Macedonia.

“It was a confidence booster,” said the Scot. “It’s something I know I can do but that I haven’t been doing. If the shot’s there, I’ll take it and I’m confident I’m going to make it. I just have to concentrate on doing the little things I need to do to help the team win.”


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cheshire Jets sign” American forward Chris Commons

Cheshire Jets have signed 6’9” American forward Chris Commons. The 25 year-old Commons played most recently in Germany, and also previously in Bahrain, after a college career USC Aiken.

Jets coach Paul Smith feels he has found exactly what he is looking for in his new signing:

“He’s perfect for what we want in terms of size and youth, he’s been out of college - with a great record - for about a year, he was a Division 2 All-American, and consensus All-American. He’s tall, shoots the three, puts the ball on the floor, rebounds, passes, and does it all. He has the potential to be a star in this league.”

Commons is relishing the prospect of coming over to play for the Jets.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “I feel it’s a very good decision and I’m grateful to the coach for this opportunity. One of the reasons why I wanted to sign was down to how straight-forward, honest and passionate the coach is to win. I want to just do my best, work hard and hope to do the same.”


Glasgow Rocks agree new one-year deal with American forward Mike Copeland

Glasgow Rocks coach Sterling Davis has challenged Mike Copeland to become a BBL All Star after agreeing a new one-year deal with the American forward.

Copeland spent four years at the University of North Carolina, of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but his career there was hampered with injuries preventing him from really breaking into the rotation.

Despite these setbacks, the rookie posted an average of 13.1 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game in his debut BBL campaign. But Davis wants even more out of him second time around.

“We are very excited about getting Mike back,” he said. “He established himself as not only a very good player but also a fan favourite here at the rocks. He is a very approachable guy that everyone instantly took a liking to. It’s always good to have guys around who can show recognition to the fans just as they do week after week for us on the court.”


Monday, 9 August 2010

New Jersey Nets-Toronto Raptors confirmed for London

NBA Commissioner David Stern has confirmed that the Toronto Raptors will face the New Jersey Nets at London’s 02 Arena on March 4 and 5.

The pair of regular season games are the first time the league has taken competitive fixtures to Europe after over 20 years of friendlies. And although he is making no absolute guarantee that it will become an annual event, it fulfils Stern's promise to bring a regular season game to the UK before the 2012 Olympic Games.

"We'll need to assess how we do in March," Stern said. "It would not surprise me if this becomes an annual event. But I don't want to make a commitment on it."

The NBA has been criticised for pushing its own product at the expense of British domestic basketball, which has been damned by comparison in the chase to attract both fans and paying sponsors. Stern, understandably, is looking for a profit from the trans-Atlantic diversion but he is hoping for longer-lasting spin-offs in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics and beyond.

“It’s always about the games themselves and the activities around the games,” he said. “Last year with our friendly in October, we did community service, we did clinics, we did court dedications. You can expect there will be a dramatic build-up towards March, that we begin to demonstrate to people that basketball – in particular NBA basketball but we hope all of basketball – has drawing power, especially for kids.

“It’s a very inclusive sport. When you have rosters that demonstrate the impact of globalisation in the NBA, that together with the focus that LOCOG will be putting basketball, it is going to be a very catalytic series of events that will keep basketball in the public eye.”

This game will be the Raptors' first visit to the United Kingdom. Toronto faced the Boston Celtics and Lottomatica Roma in Rome, Italy and Real Madrid in Madrid, Spain in pre-season games in 2007.

"The entire Raptors organisation is pleased to be representing the NBA in these historic regular season games in Europe," added Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

NBA regular season games have previously been played in Mexico and Japan but the league has previously resisted calls to bring a competitive game to Europe.

However, the National Football League has staged an annual regular season game in London for each of the last three seasons and the National Hockey League has also held in-season games in London before.

Stern admits it is unlikely other cities in Europe could host a similar fixture at present, with the 02 Arena's facilities, capacity and price policies making business sense. And having franchises across the Atlantic, on a full-time basis, remains unlikely in the short-term.

"I think one franchise doesn't work. It needs to be multiple franchises," Stern said. "We need buildings, we need owners, we need a better economy. It's certainly something that I and my successors will be considering."

Tickets will go on sale on September 1.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Pops Mensah-Bonsu joins Caja Laboral Tau, signs 2-year deal

Pops Mensah-Bonsu has signed a two-year with Spanish play-off winners, Tau Baskonia, after the Great Britain centre rejected a move to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Londoner, who left CSKA Moscow at the end of last season, is understood to have a NBA release clause next summer. But he admitted that he is relishing a second spell in the ACB.

“This is as a good as it gets,” he said. “Especially in the ACB, you couldn’t ask for more. I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t an ideal situation. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going on. It’s a great league, second only to the NBA. It suits the way I play. I’m looking forward to it.”

The former Toronto and Dallas reserve concedes he still harbours ambitions to return to the NBA, despite his failure to solidify his place in spells with four different teams in the league.

“I’m still young,” he said. “I’m not chasing it. If they want me, they can come find me. I’m someone who holds the NBA in high regard. I feel I’m a NBA player. But I have no problem coming to Europe. The quality of basketball is high. But if they want me they’ll come get me and I’ll keep playing as hard as I can.”

He joins a Caja Laboral side that is fresh off shocking FC Barcelona in the end-of-year play-offs but that has lost its long-time star, the Brazilian centre Tiago Splitter, to the San Antonio Spurs. But he believes he can maintain their status at the top of the Spanish game.

"They still have some great players,” he said. “There is pressure on them because they won the ACB play-offs last season. Hopefully we can repeat and get to the Euroleague Final Four.”


Pops goes off as Britain steer past Macedonia

Former NBA forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu delivered 27 points and 9 rebounds as Great Britain remained unbeaten in their European Championship qualifiers with a 104-96 win over Macedonia in Newcastle.

However Chris Finch’s men were forced to hold their nerve, rallying from seven points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime before they saw off their most dangerous rivals in front of around far from capacity crowd at the venue that will be home to the Eagles next term.

It should have been much simpler after GB opened up a 15-point cushion in the first period but the visitors eased back into contention to trim the gap to 47-43 at half-time.

As in Hungary, Finch saw his players suffer from the third quarter blues and it almost proved fatal. The Macedonians maintained their push to eventually go 83-76 in front with three minutes of regulation play left but the hosts rallied back from the brink. After Mensah-Bonsu intentionally missed a free-throw, Dan Clark tipped the rebound out to Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, who calmly stepped out and hit a three-pointer with 6 seconds left that forced an extra period at 87-87.

And after the lead changed hands four times, Mensah-Bonsu scored six points in quick succession to spark a decisive burst that killed off Macedonia for good with Finch again rewarded from another series of clutch performances from captain Andrew Sullivan and Nate Reinking.

"For most of the game, even when we were down, I felt we were controlling the game," said Finch. "We lost our discipline a bit on defence in the third quarter. There was some tiredness. We tried to change things. Our rhythm went down a bit. Sometimes, when you go 6 or 7 down, you feel you have no response but when we called time out, we felt we had a response. You have to make big plays and we were able to do that."

Deng added 23 points and 11 rebounds for GB, who visit Bosnia - who lost 74-70 in Hungary - on Wednesday but for once he was over-shadowed by his team-mate.

"I'm not here if Luol isn't the player he is," Mensah-Bonsu countered. "Most of my points came from the attention that he got and he is that good of a player to find me and make me look good. The coach's game plan was good coming in. Defensively we were told to just disrupt them and get them out of their offence. They got a lot of lay-ups but we were trying to run them off the three-point plays and force them to finish at the basket."

Hometown hero Sullivan continued his inspirational form in his new sixth man role with 17 points and some key defensive plays that included a stunning block in the closing seconds of regulation.

"He played his role to a tee," said Finch. "He's an energy guy, a high-level garbage guy. People think that's a derogatory term but you can't win without guys like him."

Naturalised American Ivica Dimcevski hit a game-high 30 points for the Macedonians.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

GB rivals pushed me forward, says Ogo Adegboye

Ogo Adegboye has thanked his fellow guards for steering him to a surprise place in Great Britain’s line-up, even though it has left his rivals out in the cold.

The rookie point guard, who is about to begin his senior season at St. Bonaventure University in New York, is expected to keep his starting role when GB meet Macedonia in Newcastle on Sunday in the second tie of their Eurobasket qualifying campaign.

The 22-year-old overcame early foul trouble that limited him to 18 minutes in last Monday’s 91-82 win over Hungary, holding his nerve to make four critical free throws in the closing minutes and earning praise from head coach Chris Finch for his performance in his first competitive international. And he admits that the support from within the GB backcourt ranks has smoothed his path.

“They’ve been giving me advice on how to keep pushing myself and keep on working hard,” said the Londoner. “We all bust a gut at practice but off the court, they’re like brothers. In games they advise you and keep you calm and that’s been really helpful.

“Basketball is a mental game. It translates to the physical. I’ve become tougher and got much more knowledge about the game, more than I had before. I’ve had to adjust from the American game to the European game. And the process has really pushed up my basketball IQ.”

The newcomer is part of Britain’s Brixton enclave, which also includes Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng and Adegboye’s fellow first-timer Matthew Bryan-Amaning. And the bond between the trio has provided the playmaker with a huge lift.

“It’s so great,” he declared. “They’re like my brothers. They are my brothers. It’s fun to be with them and it’s encouraged me. It’s made it easier because they have my back on and off the court.”

Meanwhile skipper Drew Sullivan, who could equal Bill McInnes’ long-standing GB caps record if he makes his 49th appearance for the national side, is hoping for a full house in the first major fixture at Northumbria University’s new 3000-seater venue.

“I’ve been telling them to come and play in Newcastle for years so it would be great if we pack it out,” he said.


Chris Finch demands more from Achara ahead of Macedonian test

Kieron Achara could be dropped from Great Britain’s line-up if he can’t bounce back to top form, according to head coach Chris Finch. GB host Macedonia in Newcastle on Sunday in their second European Championship qualifier with both sides looking to maintain their 100% start to the campaign.

However, the Stirling-born forward finds himself in the doghouse after exchanging words with Finch when he was yanked from last Monday’s 91-82 win in Hungary after just three minutes on the court. And he’s been put on notice that his place is no longer automatic.

“Kieron’s been an absolute warrior for us over the past two years," said Finch. "He’s one of our X-Factors. He’s been able to go in and make an impact on games with his hustle. He makes a shot here and there. He plays great defence. But at the moment, he’s just not doing that.

“He’s down on himself. But we need him. We need his experience. We need what he can do for us. It’s a long month of basketball but right now, he’s a little off the pace.”

The Macedonians come into the tie at Northumbrian University buoyant after humiliating the Hungarians 78-44 in mid-week and Finch is aware of their challenge.

"We scout all our opponents live as well as on DVD," he said. "We feel we have a very good handle on them and what they are trying to do. The challenge, as ever, is stopping them. We must take away the strengths of their key players both inside and out."

The GB coach was pleased with his side's display against Hungary, but knows there is still room for improvement: "We executed our stuff well, we guard very well at times and we rebounded consistently. We didn't start the game or the 3rd quarter very well and we didn't take the best shots. We need to improve on all aspects of our game and keep growing as a team to be successful on Sunday as well as in the group.

"We are fully fit and we do not expect any significant changes to our core line-up. We will however need a bit more bench production from a few more guys than we had in Hungary".


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Butler does it as GB women clinch series over Israel

Great Britain’s women scooped a morale boosting 71-59 win over Israel in Tel Aviv on Thursday night in their final warm-up game before the European Championship qualifiers.

GB - paced by 22 points from Kim Butler - built a 35-28 lead at half-time. And Tom Maher’s side kept the hosts at bay to clinch the series 2-1.

“It’s great to win a series against Israel,” said Maher. “But in truth, it was winning ugly. Nevertheless, it was rewarding for the fact that we could seek out solutions to grind out a win.”

Julie Page added 13 points and 14 rebounds for GB who begin their European campaign against Slovakia in Birmingham in nine days time.


Milton Keynes sign Stefan Gill but left in venue limbo

Stefan Gill, the reigning English Basketball League Player of the Year, has joined Milton Keynes Lions after completing his move into the BBL.

The 5'10" guard leaves Manchester Magic, who he helped to league, Cup and Trophy honours during his stint in the EBL.

“I’d like to thank Stefan for all he has done for the club,” said Magic coach Jeff Jones, who saw his protege win the league, National Cup, Trophy and Play-off crown in his time in the senior Magic team.

“I’m sorry to see him go, but understand that we can’t offer him the higher level of competition. He goes with my blessing and thanks and we wish him well.”

The news comes as the Lions begin their search for a third home court in 12 months after their latest base, within the Centre:MK shopping mall, was ruled out for "logistical reasons".

"It is always a drain on resources having to keep searching for a home, we are grateful to thecentre:mk for hosting us last year but now we are nomads again," said Lions CEO Vince Macaulay. "We are in the final throes of securing a long term television deal with Sky Television and the game has simply exploded in the city, but with nowhere to play Iím not sure what the future holds.î

The Lions are looking at any large buildings in MK that could be converted to host games but time is not on their side they are due to play their first game on September 26.

Macaulay added: "Lions fans should take heart, we have faced tremendous difficulties over the years with regards to facilities and we have always found a way through, I will move heaven and earth to make sure we can stay in the city."


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Jo Leedham hits 18 as GB upset Israel in OT

Great Britain's women produced their best outing of the summer to date by stunning Israel 85-75 in overtime in a friendly in Tel Aviv, just 24 hours after losing to the same team.

WNBA Draft pick Jo Leedham had 18 points in her first extended outing since an injury kept her out of a run of five consecutive defeats as Tom Maher's side continue their build-up to this month's Eurobasket qualifiers. But, with Julie Page adding 17, the visitors had to battle to prevail after blowing a 16-point cushion in regulation.

After the disappointment of fading in the final period on Tuesday, GB rushed into the 28-14 first quarter lead and were still 38-30 ahead going into the locker room at halftime.

A 19-11 third period looked to have put Tom Maher's team comfortably in control as they led 57-41 going into the fourth period, but they were outscored 30-14 to send the teams into overtime with a game tied at 71.

From there on, though, it was all GB as they outscored the hosts 14-4 to take the win and leave coach Maher delighted with the performance:

"It was a really pleasing victory in overtime especially considering we had such a good lead at three quarter time which we blew to go to overtime.

"The players composed themselves magnificently in the extra period and they found all the answers."

GB wrap up the series on Thursday in what will be their final game before EuroBasket qualifying starts at the NIA on Saturday August 14 when they face Slovak Republic.

The third, and final, game of the series is in Tel Aviv on Thursday.


Nets-Raptors to meet in London

The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets are coming to London.

The Commonwealth's only NBA team will face the Nets in two regular season games on March 4 and 5 at the 02 Arena, according to Stateside sources.

The LA Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves will meet at the same venue in a pre-season friendly in October.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

GB go down in Israel

25 points and 9 rebounds from Julie Page couldn't prevent an 80-69 defeat for Great Britain's women against Israel in a friendly in Tel Aviv.

After the sides were level at 39-39 at half-time, the visitors took a slender lead into the final quarter but Israel went on a 25-13 tear to wrap up the win. "We put a few things on the floor and there were a lot of good things to take from the game," said GB coach Tom Maher.

The teams meet again on Wednesday evening before wrapping up the three-game series on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Australian-born guard Natalie Stafford has received her UK passport and can play in Eurobasket qualifiers, British Basketball confirmed.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Great Britain survive Hungarian onslaught

Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng scored 32 points as Great Britain began their European Championship qualifying campaign with a battling 91-82 victory over Hungary in Szolnok.

And Chris Finch's men were forced to scrap to emerge on top from their opening tie after the hosts rebounded from 14 down to lead in the fourth quarter before GB produced a decisive late flurry.

The visitors had looked set for a comfortable win, Deng hitting 20 by half-time to spark his side into a 54-42 advantage. However the unfancied Hungarians - led by 20 from Adam Hanga - punished a series of lapses to eventually surge 71-67 in front.

And it was American-born guard Nate Reinking who calmed Britain's nerves when it mattered most, hitting consecutive baskets to push Finch's inconsistent line-up ahead for good with seven minutes left.

In the closing stages, the hosts were forced to foul desperately. But rookie guard Ogo Adegboye hit four clutch free throws that pulled GB clear in front of a noisy 3,000 capacity crowd.

“Every win is important especially on the road,” said Deng. “Two years ago we lost our first qualifying game and we had to climb up the hill then. But I think the experience of some of the guys from that situation brought us through here.”

Pops Mensah-Bonsu chipped in 14 points and a mammoth 18 rebounds for GB while Reinking added 16 after sitting out much of the third quarter in foul trouble.

"Getting Nate back in the game was a big advantage for us - he made some big plays," said Finch, who was in his 50th game at the helm of the national team.

"Luol's such a smart player. He's a team player and we've seen it before. It takes some time to settle down and it'll get better."

GB host Macedonia, who beat Ukraine 71-58, in Newcastle on Sunday with the coaching staff set to use the time to install more of their offensive schemes.


GB-Hungary updates

We'll have updates from GB-Hungary on Twitter at


Pre-Game Notes from Szolnok

- Great Britain's players emerged from their final team lunch at their hotel clutching the points of emphasis to remember during tonight's opening European qualifier against Hungary.

In the sleepy provincial outpost, there has been little alternative but to study the scouting reports and sleep since they arrived 24 hours ago. But they have already had the chance to practice twice at an arena described by one staff member as “a complete hothouse”. Their advice to the handful of GB fans? “Leave your jacket and jumpers at home or you'll fry!” Intriguingly, entrance is free.

- It is also the first competitive outing for the new-look coaching staff of Chris Finch, Nick Nurse and fresh recruit, Paul Mokeski, the one-time Philadelphia 76ers centre who is now doubling as Finch's aide de corps for the national team as well as at D-League champions, Rio Grande.

“Paul is awesome,” declared Nurse. “He is a great experienced basketball mind. Defence is his thing. When he speaks, people listen because he can say 'hey, I played in the NBA for 10-12 years'. He pushes the little things. Plus he's a great guy. How he's not on a NBA bench is beyond me. He's got a knowledge and experience that is valuable. He coaches big guys. He understands scouting. It's been excellent.”

The switches on the bench have been that Tony Garbelotto and Tim Lewis are now on scouting duties, with the lack of a British presence roundly criticised by many in the UK coaching fraternity. However Nurse, who remains the head coach the D-League's Iowa Energy, thinks the dynamic is working with the addition of extra backroom staff.

“We've really improved,” he said. “I think our preparation is better. Tony did a great job with the scouting and he's now focusing on that. Same with Tim. Our new video guy is out of this world. He comes from the Philadephia 76ers and he gives us stuff as soon as we need it. If I go to him and say 'I need to see Pops' last ten post touches', I have it in a minute and I'm done watching it in ten minutes. It's crazy. It's so smooth.”

- With several players on the GB squad unsigned, the Euro campaign will, inevitably, be a showcase for those who are hoping for a solid deal for next season. Pops Mensah-Bonsu's agent is holding talks with Maccabi Tel Aviv, a move which the Londoner confirmed would be “an attractive option.” His representatives are also understood to have received an approach from ACB play-off champions Caja Laboral Baskonia.

Kieron Achara is thought to be on the radar of both San Sebastian and Menorca as a Spanish switch for the Scot looms large. While captain Drew Sullivan has had no further contact from Newcastle Eagles, despite being linked strongly with joining Everton.

- Let's play Fantasy Coach. Given the performances, I'd expect young point guard Ogo Adegboye to start against the Hungarians in the backcourt beside Nate Reinking. Luol Deng is an obvious lock at small forward, Dan Clark will likely be utilised as a pop-out four-man, leaving Mensah-Bonsu to man the middle on defence while continuing to post up offensively. That unit would see Drew Sullivan as a sixth man off the bench with Flinder Boyd as the main back-up guard and either Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Kieron Achara or Eric Boateng spelling the frontcourt after none of the trio made a sufficiently compelling case in the build-up. As always, let's see what Finch comes up with, come gametime.


Vuvuzela banned by FIBA

FIBA has banned the vuvuzela from the forthcoming basketball World Championship in Turkey.

The sport’s international governing body is urging fans not to bring the controversial instruments to games and warned that security staff will confiscate them. Supporters also face expulsion from the tournament’s five venues if they flout the ban.

FIBA is the first international sport federation to officially ban the vuvuzela from all of its events. The ban will include pressure horns that can produce similar decibel levels and harm people’s health.

The noise made by the horns was a major talking point at the football World Cup in South Africa with opinion divided over the effect they had on the atmosphere during games.

Patrick Baumann, the Secretary-General of FIBA and a member of the International Olympic Committee, said: “We want fans to enjoy themselves and make lots of noise but not at the risk of spoiling it for others.

“The vuvuzela is simply not appropriate in a confined space such as a basketball arena. It’s a very loud instrument and some medical experts believe the decibel level and frequency can be harmful to hearing.

“Besides our responsibility to protect the well-being of our athletes and fans alike, the sound level in an indoor sport arena could create communication problems between the referees and that could have a direct negative impact on the game.

“We are urging fans not to bring the instrument to stadia because they will be confiscated by security staff and anybody who manages to smuggle one into a venue might end up missing the game.

“Previous tournaments have shown us that it’s possible to have a carnival atmosphere and passionate support without the vuvuzela.”

The ban will also be implemented for all other FIBA indoor events in the future such as the FIBA World Championship for Women later in the year.

Dr Heinz Gunter, Vice President of the FIBA Medical Commission, backed the decision saying: “If somebody is sitting next to more than one vuvuzela it can cause damage to the ear. The problem is the instrument has a very high frequency which is not good for the ears.”


Luol Deng ready to make up for lost time as GB start Euro campaign

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng is ready to put two years of frustration behind him and help Great Britain qualify for next summer's European Championships, according to the national team's captain Drew Sullivan.

Chris Finch's side begin their campaign tonight against Hungary in Szolnok with their most formidable asset back in the ranks after missing last summer through injury. With a number of seasoned performers suffering a similar fate this time, his return provides a massive boost to Britain's chances of featuring in the 2011 finals in Lithuania – and, in turn, persuading the sport's governing body FIBA to confirm their place in the London Olympics.

“I'm glad Luol's back,” said Sullivan. “Last summer he was around the team as much as he could and you could see how upset he was that he couldn't play at the Eurobasket finals, which is something we'd spent two years working towards. He was devastated that he'd helped us qualify and then, unfortunately, got hurt with the Bulls and didn't recover in time. From our perspective, we need him. We're a much better team with him.”

With Deng barred from featuring in any of GB's warm-up games due to an issue with his NBA-sponsored insurance, Finch has been forced to take an extended look at a number of younger faces with the Spanish-based centre Dan Clark and American collegiate prospect Matthew Bryan-Amaning seizing their opportunity to stake a claim.

“Potentially, if they do well, it will benefit us because it shows that we have depth,” Sullivan stated. “If someone decides to pull out through injury, we now have guys who can step up and take their place at short notice. And it also puts pressure on the older guys, or players who might pull out for less than legitimate reasons. They'll now know that they won't necessarily get back in.”

Regular updates on Twitter on


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Cheshire Jets sign American centre Matt Schneck.

Cheshire Jets have beaten out an unnamed Swiss side to sign All-American centre Matt Schneck.

The 6'9@ Wisconsin native, just graduated from Central Minnesota, impressed coach Paul Smith at a Las Vegas show camp and has agreed a one-year deal.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Schneck said. “It’s a nice experience to get under my belt. I get to keep playing the game I’ve always loved. It’s a tough crowd up there, but I think I’ll be all right. I think Central Minnesota toughened me up a little bit.”


Chris Finch names final 12 for GB opener against Hungary

Ashley Hamilton has been confirmed as the final cut from Great Britain's European Championship team as head coach Chris Finch named a 12-strong line-up for Monday's opening qualifier against Hungary.

The GB squad arrived in Szolnok on Sunday afternoon, fresh a brief break following three friendlies in Tel Aviv last week.

"It definitely helped us to play three pretty tough teams" Finch said. "They all had different styles, which was good for us, and we managed to use a lot of the younger players. We played pretty well, and although we had mixed results, we found out a lot about ourselves and it was a really worthwhile trip."

Finch confirmed that Nate Reinking and Pops Mensah-Bonsu have recovered from minor niggles and are fit to meet the Hungarians.

Great Britain (from): Achara, Adegboye, Bailey, Boateng, Boyd, Clark, Deng, Bryan-Amaning, Mensah-Bonsu, Reinking, Robinson, Sullivan (capt.)