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Local youngsters picked for GB basketball camps

PUBLISHED: 19:50 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:50 13 April 2017

Youngsters in action at the national team training camp (pic Basketball England)

Youngsters in action at the national team training camp (pic Basketball England)

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Brentwood Fire, Haringey Angels and Barking Abbey players impress selectors

Local basketball players have been picked for the inaugural Great Britain selection camp in June ahead of the under-16 and under-18 European Championships this summer.

Following on from the second National Junior Training Camps (NJTCs) in Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester, Basketball England has picked 68 players in total across four age groups, who will compete with Scottish and Welsh counterparts for the chance to represent GB.

Among those chosen were Brentwood Fire duo Theo Hughes and Timothy Adetukasi (under-16 boys), Haringey Angels’ Shanice Flitton (under-16 girls), Barking Abbey’s Joshua Ogundale and Pierce Maslen (under-18 men) and Abbey’s Charlotte Ellmore, Teresa Da Silva and Zoe Willis (under-18 women).

Basketball England’s Technical and Performance Manager Vladan Dragosavac said: “I’d like to commend all of the players that have participated in these Easter camps and the ones back in December for their commitment, dedication and hard work.

“Representing Great Britain at the European Championships for the very first time is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at a truly prestigious event and we feel our players in those age groups have really risen to the challenge over the course of the last six months.

“An important factor in the selection of these particular players has been the energy and time invested in their respective games and skill sets by their AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) institution/academy/club coaches.

“They’re the ones who sacrifice a lot in order to see their young players progressively develop into England – and Great Britain – players, so they deserve a great deal of credit as well.”

The under-18 women’s head coach Vanessa Ellis and under-16 girls’ head coach Matthew Harber were with their respective charges for the three-day NJTC in Birmingham earlier this week, whereas Leicester was the base for Alan Keane’s Englaunder-18 men and James Vear’s under-16 boys.

Keane added: “This camp has been about us giving the guys as much of an opportunity as possible to show us what they can do.

“We gave them a framework and some principles to work with in certain scenarios and situations and then we stepped back and assessed their individual capabilities and deficiencies.

“By the end of the camp, we had a far clearer picture of who can do what and, moving forward, who are the better players in terms of what we need from a national team player.

“We have been crystal clear with them with regards to what we expect from a GB player and the qualities and characteristics it takes to become one.”

Ellis said: “I hope the girls will have come away from this camp with an even greater understanding of some key principles that we have to follow.

“You need to be aggressive and physical on defence in international basketball. You need to understand your specific role on defence and it’s also about defending as a team.

“There are some equally pertinent points to consider on offence and we must build on these fundamental things in the future.

“The players have got to develop very good skill sets as there are certain things you’ve got to do well to play at international level.”

Harber continued: “I’m very happy with the camp as the players have delivered their best and both they – and us as a coaching staff – maximised the time that we had together.

“It has been really good to see the players back on the floor again because we have been apart for a fair while now.

“We’ve been building our relationships with each and every player over the intervening period though and it’s great to see the fruits of their labour now – both from a physical standpoint and also in terms of their development as basketball players.

“It’s a really prestigious honour to represent Great Britain. To play for one of the home nations – be it England, Scotland or Wales – is a massive achievement, but to play for Great Britain is another step.”

Vear said: “What we have tried to get across to the players in this short period of time is the way that we want to play – both offensively and defensively.

“It has been good to get them all playing together so that they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses game-wise. It’s also about instilling a camaraderie and team spirit within the group off the court as well.

“They’ve done a really good job of competing hard against each other. The guys had a good attitude throughout the three days and it has all been very positive.

“We have some great athletes and talented players – anybody can see that. Tactically and technically, we’re fundamentally not as good as some of the other European countries. We can make up for that though with our athleticism a lot of the time.

“I speak to coaches all of the time and they always say how we have amazing athletes, but we’re just not as good as some of the other European countries tactically and technically.

“When we get to that level in the future – and I hope we’re working towards that now – we could be a powerhouse in Europe. The potential is absolutely unbelievable.”

The under-18 men will compete in Tallinn, Estonia between July 28 and August 6 against Albania, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden, while the women are up against hosts Ireland in Dublin from August 4-13, as well as Macedonia, Moldova, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The under-16 boys compete in Sofia, Bulgaria from August 10-19 against Georgia, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Macedonia and Portugal, while the girls head to Skopje, Macedonia from August 17-26 to face Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Slovakia and Switzerland.

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