RYAN RICHARDS QUITS GB IN DEFECTION SHOCK

Great Britain may be forced to call up reinforcements ahead of the start of their pre-Olympic training camp this week in Houston after losing Ryan Richards and Sullivan Phillips from their original 21-man squad.

Richards, drafted two years ago by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, has stunned officials by declaring his intention to play for Jamaica. The Kent-born forward, who won 7 senior caps last year, is understood to have informed British Basketball by officials of his decision by email.

“Clearly Ryan is a talented athlete,” said British Basketball’s performance director Chris Spice.

“He’s been with both GB and England for quite some time. We’re disappointed that he’s made that decision. But we have to move on.”

Some doubt has already been cast on the 21-year-old’s eligibility to switch countries under restrictive FIBA rules which, bar an appeal, tie a player once they have featured in a competitive tie at Under-20 level or beyond. It is the latest in a series of baffling career decisions by the young prospect, leaving many to wonder if he will ever fulfil his potential.

However the withdrawal of the uncapped Phillips has been forced on Britain after it was discovered that he had played in a competitive international for his native Bermuda.

But the vacancies mean that a number of players from the Futures line-up will now come into contention for a late place in the squad for the initial phase of the build-up to London.

“We had 21 named on the list with a few of them also in our Futures team,” Spice confirmed.

“But with losing a few of the original names, we may call people up.”

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