New Great Britain coach expects majority of players to return for World Cup qualifiers

Mansoor Ahmed / MAP Photos

New Great Britain coach Tony Garbelotto expects the majority of the squad to report for duty when the international season gets underway in November.

Garbelotto was officially announced as the new head coach of the GB team today and while the majority of nations face problems regarding the availability of their players, the Londoner is confident that it won’t be the case for when they open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Greece in two months.

“Pretty much so, yes,” Garbelotto said. “I mean from everything I got back, that group is quite tight, they want to do well it’s not something that’s impacting their lives they would be with their professional teams anyway at that time.

“So it’s almost a break for them and they want to do well so I would hope and my fingers are crossed on this but in November that you will see one of our strongest groups that we can put together with the 12 or 14 players that we select for that camp.”

And unlike many basketball figures who are against the new international cycle, which is well documented, Garbelotto, understandably sees it as a great opportunity for GB.

“I don’t think about the expectations I just think we have an incredible opportunity as a nation,” he said.

“We don’t get many breaks as a basketball playing nation of Great Britain so I think the way they reconstituted this tournament and the whole [World] Cup is really helping us because of course we don’t have any NBA players at this moment unless Joel [Freeland] makes the team and of course Luol [Deng] obviously is there if we would come back for one swansong, we don’t know but it doesn’t effect us.

“We don’t have at this precise moment, too many EuroLeague players so again, no problems there so I feel that Eurobasket team that just participated in Istanbul played a great set of games against world powers and I think we got a great opportunity of continuing with that team and doing well, so with the way that it is set up, if I can bring those young players and the senior players together and do things a little differently, I think we can be very successful.”