RYAN RICHARDS SET FOR GB BOW

NBA Draft pick Ryan Richards will feature for Great Britain’s Under-20 team in this summer’s European Championships with the backing of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Kent-born forward, who was chosen in the second round last summer, is in line to make his first competitive appearance in a GB vest in Sarajevo for July’s European B Division group.

It follows a year in which Richards was forced to sit out following shoulder surgery, splitting his rehab between the UK and USA. And after 12 months on the sidelines, talks with GB performance manager Ron Wuotila have convinced the prospect to sign on.

“There’s been open dialogue with Ryan for a number of years via the men’s programme,” revealed GB Under-20 coach Tim Lewis (left).

“It hasn’t fitted with other things he’s had, including the Draft. But the Spurs see this as a good fit for his rehab. It’s a combination of him wanting to play, Ron talking to him and the guys on the team.

“Ryan has a desire to help us get to the A Division and this is his last year of eligibility at the junior age.”

Lewis is currently awaiting news on the availability of a number of other players although Stateside sources have confirmed that London-born forward Ovie Soko is unlikely to feature, despite several high-scoring performances last summer.

Hence the British side will turn to a number of new faces to supplement its returning core.

“Ali Mackay has had a year at Davidson and coming back in, we’ll look for his experience to help us,” said Lewis.

“Plus we’ll have a bunch of new guys cutting their teeth, some younger guys who are exciting.”

Meanwhile GB’s Future Squad – effectively an Under-23 team – has lined up three friendlies against their German counterparts this summer.

The series is, as last year, likely to offer a number of fringe prospects an opportunity to stake a late claim for a spot in the senior squad for the Eurobasket finals.

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