SCRAP INTENSIFIES AS TEAM GB CUTS LOOM LARGE

Dan Clark says the fear of missing the Olympics is driving on Great Britain’s squad as training camp nears its end in Houston.

GB play Russia on Thursday night in their penultimate game before coach Chris Finch decides on the 12 players, plus two reserves, that will return to Europe and begin the last leg of preparation for London.

With new Charlotte Bobcats guard Ben Gordon expected to formally confirm he will not play, it leaves only perhaps 2-3 spots to be determined ahead of the cuts which will follow the friendly against Lithuania.

And Clark admits longevity is no guarantee of a place up front when the team lands in London on Sunday.

“It’s always good to have competition. It means we’ll have the best team we have out there which helps,” he said.

”We want to get our best team out on the floor. That has to be our objective to get anywhere in the Olympics. We needed our best 12 players and that’s why everyone is fighting for that.”

With no wins in three games to date, GB would ideally love to get off the mark and will welcome back Pops Mensah-Bonsu to the line-up for their two Stateside ties.

But Clark insists that a heavy loss to Russia, and another against Lithuania, mean little.

“Those teams that we’re playing against have been practicing for a lot longer than us,” said the Londoner, who is part of the 17-strong Standard Life-backed squad.

“They’re on their way to the Olympic qualifying tournament so they’ve had more preparation. But these games are all about showing our weaknesses and our strengths. It also will show who can play at a high level. Russia and Lithuania are basketball powers so it’s a big test.”

The GB squad are keeping one eye on the resolution of the current impasse on retaining a single British team after London 2012.

With England and Scotland attempting to forge a possible joint plan of action following Wales’ opt-out, the waters have been muddied.

Clark has a clear preference for the way forward – unity over separation.

“That would be the preferred view for everyone,” he underlined.

“We need to get more British people involved to keep this legacy going. It would be a shame for it all to disappear.”

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