PISTONS GORDON VOWS TO FIGHT FOR GB PLACE

NBA trio Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens have all been named in Great Britain’s initial 21-man squad for the pre-Olympic training camp in Houston.

Detroit Pistons’ guard Gordon is in line to finally make his debut after withdrawing in previous summers for personal reasons.

The London-born shooter will go to camp aiming to earn a place in the final 12-man team for the Games.

And he said: “I am very excited to pull on the GB jersey this summer and play for my country. To be invited into camp is the first step in that journey and I am immensely proud to have the opportunity.

“I am totally committed to playing with the Standard Life GB team this year and look forward to being part of the squad hoping to make 2012 a year to remember for British Basketball fans.”

Mullens will go to camp

Mullens, who MVP first revealed as a newcomer, is joined on the list of fresh faces by UAB forward Ovie Soko, called up despite poor reports from his previous spell with the GB Under-20 team, and by Bermudan-born swingman Sullivan Phillips who plays with Prievidza in Slovakia but who has had previous domestic stints with London Towers and Brighton Bears.

GB coach Chris Finch will cut the squad down to 16 at the beginning of May, ahead of camp, with two additional places available for Futures team players.

The final dozen heading to the Olympics will then be announced early in July when the team returns to the UK from preparation camp in the USA.

“The GB basketball programme has come a long way since 2006 and the blend we have now of experienced talent with the younger guys is fantastic to see,” said Finch.

“We have the potential for a world-class team who will surprise a few people this summer. The commitment from all our players to the programme once again is great and it’s also good to see our strength and depth continuing to increase year on year.”

All 12 of the team from last summer’s EuroBasket in Lithuania are included, while Kieron Achara, Ryan Richards, Alex Marcotullio and Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who were cut ahead of that tournament, make their returns, along with Pops Mensah-Bonsu after missing the 2011 campaign through injury.

American-based Will Neighbour, who was due to be included, ruled himself out last week after scheduling shoulder surgery.  Other notable omissions from previous squads are Justin Robinson, Chris Ayer, Lawrence Ekperigin and Ashley Hamilton.

GB Squad: Achara, Kieron (Manresa, Spain), Adegboye, Ogo (APOEL, Cyprus), Archibald, Robert (Zaragoza, Spain), Boateng, Eric (Peristeri, Greece), Bryan-Amaning, Matthew (Hacettepe, Turkey), Clark, Dan (Estudiantes, Spain), Deng, Luol (Chicago Bulls, USA), Freeland, Joel (Unicaja, Spain), Gordon, Ben (Detroit Pistons, USA), Johnson, Kyle (APOEL, Cyprus), Lenzly, Mike (CEZ Nymburk, Czech Republic), Lawrence, Andrew (College of Charleston, USA), Marcotullio, Alex (Northwestern, USA), Mensah-Bonsu, Pops (Besiktas, Turkey), Mullens, Byron (Charlotte Bobcats, USA), Phillips, Sullivan (Prievidza, Slovakia), Reinking, Nate (Sheffield), Richards, Ryan (Unattached), Soko, Ovie (University of Alabama-Birmingham), Sullivan, Andrew (Leicester), Van Oostrum, Devon (Tarragona, Spain)

Main Pic: MAP

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