The future of British basketball will be shaped significantly amid talks in Edinburgh this weekend.
The powers that be within the governing bodies of England, Scotland and Wales have gathered to determine their future co-existence. Within three weeks, they must decide whether to retain a united front post-2012 or go solo once more. A decision taken jointly but separately will impact hugely on those whose effort is measured in sweat.
Among the players, there is a swell of support for maintaining a single GB team – at all age levels – that might maintain the momentum of recent years that has brought international respectability. While plans to restructure the sport, including the establishment of a semi-professional women’s league, also hang on a unity pact.
“I think a lot could be done with basketball in the UK, period,” said Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng.
“Even with what’s being done now, more can be done. I could never tell you I’d know what direction they’re going to take. I just hope they realise the talent that they have. A lot could be better by just making this sport more important.”
With England and Wales understood to be on board, Scotland – whose board meets on Saturday to discuss it position – is seen as the most likely to show dissent to proposals that would see a new federal structure created. It would lead to the home nations losing their right to participate separately in FIBA competition. Yet GB centre Robert Archibald, the only Scot ever to play in the NBA, insists the opportunity to play ay the highest level must be paramount.
“I think it would be a step back to say no,” he said. “My belief is that the only way to get better is to play against the absolute best competition you can, year in and year out. For those guys to funnel young Scottish players away from that opportunity is really cutting off a great resource.”
PIC: Mansoor Ahmed
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