Great Britain’s top basketballers have hit back at claims from former player John Amaechi that the sport is headed off track as it builds towards this summer’s Eurobasket finals – and, potentially, the Olympics.

Amaechi under fire

Amaechi, speaking ahead of next month’s Global Sports Forum, backed GB’s bid to be given an automatic place at London 2012 but criticised the way the national teams are being run.

“I think the organisers of Team GB are absurdly poor,” he said.

“We have a team that had an average age of something about 35 when most of the teams at the Olympics have an average age of 25. The way we are developing basketball in this team is wrong.”

British Basketball officials – who are currently finalising their Olympic case ahead of FIBA’s vote on the issue next month – have refuted the assertions made by the ex-NBA centre, underlining that the men’s squad which qualified for Lithuania last summer had an average age of 25.5.

And GB captain Drew Sullivan has led a concerted response against Amaechi, who has become a political activist and psychologist since retiring from the game in 2006.

“He’s one of the few guys who have had a decent career in Europe and in the NBA,” said Suillivan.

“He’s the kind of person who should be backing what we’re doing. And it looks like he’s 100% against it. I’m upset but I’m also upset for him because we’re doing it without him.

“Maybe it’s better that way but someone with as much experience as he has should be at the camps, talking to the younger guys and giving them pointers.”

Sullivan was not alone in his critique.

“He’s so confused it’s not even worth discussing,” posted Andy Betts, Amaechi’s long-time England team-mate, on Twitter.

Added GB forward Kieron Achara: “I’ve always respected the man but those comments are absurd.”

Watch the full interview here.

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