Tom Maher has cut the prospective Great Britain women’s squad to 20 players ahead of the start of preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games.
The Australian will open his full training camp in Guildford on May 5 but with informal work-outs due to begin next month, he has made his first moves towards reducing the pool to the final 12 that will take to the floor in London.
And a youthful group includes Bonnie Samuelson, the Stanford University freshman forward, who will this weekend become the first British woman to play in the NCAA Final Four.
Samuelson, who turns 19 years old on the day camp begins, qualifies through her mother, a former England netball international.
Also amid four uncapped players is Harvard’s Temi Fagbenle, unable to play NCAA this year but a success at GB under-20s last summer where she averaged a team high 8.3 rebounds and nine points per game.
Georgia Jones, who gets a long awaited recall following her solid performances with the GB Futures team at the World University Games in China, has also been called up along side Oral Roberts University team-mate Dominique Allen.
Kristina Collins completes the lineup of younger players joining the senior ranks after a stand out season with the only Canadian team playing in the NCAA, Simon Fraser University.
“I am very pleased and excited with the squad we have coming into camp this year,” said Maher.
“There is a lot of young talent who are the next generation of basketball players in Great Britain and they will learn a lot from some of the more experienced members of the squad.
“We have a good preparation period this year, with plenty of time for the girls to get settled in and gel as a team. I am confident with the players we are bringing into camp this year as we prepare for our biggest challenge to date.”
Returning to Maher’s squad this year following a successful 2011 campaign are British Basketball’s 2011 Player of the Year, Julie Page, alongside star small forward Jo Leedham who averaged 12 points per game in EuroBasket 2011, and has spent the winter under Maher’s tutelage in Australia with the Bulleen Boomers.
Other familiar faces back include Rose Anderson – the sole Scottish representative – along with Kim Butler, Kate Butters, Stef Collins, Steph Gandy, Chantelle Handy, Natalie Stafford, Azania Stewart, Lauren Thomas-Johnson, and Rachael Vanderwal.
Jeneya Wade-Frey and Sarah McKay make their returns having been injured last year.
While Sarah Naylor also comes in for consideration after a string of strong performances for Sheffield Hatters.
However there is no place for veteran forwards Roz Mason or Jo Clayden, while Old Dominion centre Mairi Buchan is the most surprising omission.
GB’s opening friendly is on May 28 against Croatia. Maher must name his 12 for London by June 22.
|Dominique Allen||Oral Roberts University, USA|
|Rose Anderson||UWIC Archers, Cardiff|
|Kim Butler||SK Cesis, Latvia|
|Kate Butters||UWIC Archers, Cardiff|
|Kristina Collins||Simon Fraser University, Canada|
|Stef Collins||UWIC Archers, Cardiff|
|Temi Fagbenle||Harvard University, USA|
|Steph Gandy||Sheffield Hatters|
|Chantelle Handy||Athinaikos, Greece|
|Georgia Jones||Oral Roberts University, USA|
|Jo Leedham||Bulleen Boomers, Australia|
|Sarah McKay||Barking Abbey Leopards|
|Sarah Naylor||Sheffield Hatters|
|Julie Page||Torun, Poland|
|Bonnie Samuelson||Stanford University, USA|
|Natalie Stafford||Sydney University Flames, Australia|
|Azania Stewart||University of Florida, USA|
|Lauren Thomas-Johnson||Sheffield Hatters|
|Rachel Vanderwal||University of Limerick, Ireland|
|Jeneya Wade-Fray||UWIC Archers, Cardiff|
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