Mansoor Ahmed

Glasgow Rocks playcaller Tony Garbelotto will lead Great Britain into the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in November as its new head coach.

The 48-year-old, Londoner becomes the first ever British-born GB head coach since its inception in 2007. He replaces Milwaukee Bucks assistant Joe Prunty, who could not commit to the new FIBA international window due to the NBA schedule.

Garbelotto, who will take over the reigns on a part-time basis, previously served as chief scout to the GB men’s team under their first coach Chris Finch ahead of the London 2012 Olympics and was also on the coaching staff of England’s senior and under-20 sides in the past.

“For me, it was the right time to come back to the UK for all types of personal reasons,” Garbelotto said. “It’s definitely a great situation to be in. Obviously, I’d been in Asia for the last three years and in Germany prior to that and there was this unique set of circumstances that came together.

“It’s an interesting time for British Basketball as there seem to be a lot of things happening and there’s an incredible group of young players coming through.”

Garbelotto’s first duty will be the World Cup qualifying window, which begins in November with a home game against Greece in Leicester followed by a trip to Estonia and though they head to the qualifiers on the back of a Eurobasket campaign that saw them lose all five of the group games in Istanbul, he sees mass amounts of potential going forward.

“We should be excited about our prospects going forward,” Garbelotto said. “Some players are very young, especially those players involved in the junior teams this summer but more importantly, the core of this team are at the stage where they can only get better.

“I’ve been involved in the Great Britain programme since its inception and I don’t believe that even before London 2012, we truly got the fusion of young and mature players at the right stage. They are a really tight group and if we can add players to this group for the World Cup qualifiers, we can be excited about the possibilities where this team can take us.”

Along with his role with GB, Garbelotto will also be juggling roles with the Scottish national side ahead of the Commonwealth Games next year on the Gold Coast along with his work with the Rocks. He will be close to home during the qualifiers as at least two of the games will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.