Great Britain Rumors
Silver has said the goal is to see basketball become Britain’s No. 2 sport. Backed by figures from a 2014 U.K. Sport survey into participation, which showed it to be the second-most popular team sport among the 14-16 age group, this did not sound too outlandish an ambition.
Drew Sullivan, the former Olympic captain and star of the defending BBL champion team, the Leicester Riders, said: “It’s just not realistic. The thing that still hurts basketball in this country is that even though we have a lot of people who really do enjoy it, it’s still viewed as an American sport. And, let’s be honest, you know how patriotic we are. Rugby? That’s English! Cricket? That’s English! It’s steeped in our history and culture and there’s nothing wrong in that; people are always going to be interested in those three sports here first — football, rugby and cricket — and if we work hard and ever get it right, fourth is the best basketball could hope for here.”
Eurobasket champions Spain have a favourable draw as they travel to Romania to open their 2017 campaign in Cluj-Napoca. The 2015 winners will face Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Hungary and hosts Romania in Group C. Eurobasket runners-up Lithuania will be housed in Tel Aviv, where they are drawn with the hosts Israel, Ukraine, Georgia, Italy and Germany. Group D, which takes place at the Ulker Sports Arena on the Asian side of Istanbul looks to be the toughest pool of the four as Turkey hosts Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Latvia and Belgium.
Following GB’s 95-72 win over a stubborn Luxembourg on Wednesday night, which improved Great Britain’s record in Eurobasket qualifying to 2-1, Gordon remained open to the idea of a move to the EuroLeague but insists that the NBA still remains the main priority. “I’m open to any contract offers, obviously the NBA is my main goal but if the offer in the EuroLeague is good, it will be a great opportunity for me,” Gordon said to TalkBasket. “End of the day though, I’m just going to look at my options and evaluate what’s best for me and if it falls in the NBA or the EuroLeague or elsewhere, then I’ll head there.”
Joe Prunty is to continue as head coach of the Great Britain men as they bid to qualify for EuroBasket 2017 in August. The American, who took charge initially in 2013, will learn his opponents when the draw is made on Friday. His future had been put into doubt when British Basketball officials declined to confirm his return last month but a contract extension has now been agreed with the Milwaukee Bucks Associate Head Coach.