News broke earlier today that the final 12 players have been announced for the mens basketball team for the London 2012 Olympics.
It was a momentous occasion for the 12 men involved, as this will only be the second time in history that Britain have had a basketball team in the Olympics; the last time being in 1948, when the Games were also hosted in London.
Drum roll please….the basketball players selected for Team GB are as follows:
- Kieron Achara
- Robert Archibald
- Eric Boateng
- Dan Clark
- Luol Deng
- Joel Freeland
- Kyle Johnson
- Andrew Lawrence
- Mike Lenzly
- Pops Mensah-Bonsu
- Nate Reinking
- Andrew Sullivan
The full squad of potential players have been training in Houston, Texas, over the past few weeks, in order to give Team GB coach, Chris Finch, a good look at the talent that he has to choose from for the final 12 spots on the team. As well as training, Team GB have played a handful of warm up games against the likes of Russia, Lithuania and Nigeria, however they were beaten in each of those games.
There was also much speculation and controversy surrounding the failure of NBA stars, Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens, to turn up to training, suggesting that they weren't too bothered about being called up to represent their country in the Olympics. Both players were taken out of the running for spots on the final team.
Of the players that have been selected, there is particular buzz around NBA star Luol Deng. Deng played for the Chicago Bulls last season, and was the first British athlete to make an appearance in the NBA All-Star Game back February. There were questions over whether he would be fit and healthy for the Games after he tore a ligament in his wrist during the regular NBA season, but he has pulled through, albeit with the injury meaning that Team GB have to shell out around £300,000 in insurance to get him onto the court this Summer.
Andrew Sullivan, who plays for the Leicester Riders in the British Basketball League, has been the face of Team GB for basketball in the run up to the Olympics, and has been very vocal in the media in terms of promoting British basketball and it's appearance in the Olympic Games.
Team GB will make it's Olympic debut on the 29th July, although they have yet to find out who they will face in that game, as the basketball qualifying tournament is not yet over. What they do know, is that they will be in a tough group as they make their way to the knock-out stages, facing Brazil, Spain, Australia and China.