Great Britain’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s EuroBasket Women finals have been dealt a huge blow after it was confirmed Jo Leedham has pulled out of Peter Buckle’s squad, ahead of the start of training camp.
The France-based guard, who has been dealing with repeated injuries, is one of five withdrawals from the 20-strong original line-up with Edinburgh Kool Kats Rose Anderson retiring to pursue a career in the fire service to join a list of call-offs which also includes Loughborough Riders’ Georgia Jones (injury), Chantelle Handy (personal reasons) and Cheridene Green (academic commitments).
Buckle has called up 20 year-old forward Kathryn Rendell who was born in Britain but has been playing her basketball with Sydney Flames but it is Leedham’s absence which will hurt most as the squad reports to its base in Worcester.
“I feel that I will benefit hugely from a break from international basketball for personal and professional reasons,” the Bourges guard said. “It is not a decision that I have taken lightly, and has been very difficult as I am very passionate about my sport and have always taken great pleasure and pride in playing for my country. I am hoping to make a return next year for Eurobasket 2015.”
Buckle has also dropped US-based Scot Becca Allison while it is understood that a number of players, including Harvard centre Temi Fagbenle, are not available for the outset.
“There’s a mix of new names and of course some recognisable faces in the more experienced senior group,” said Buckle. “I think we have a good blend of players, competition for places and even at this early stage, it’s great to see the group come together cohesively on court.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming games which will give me further opportunities to see the team working together on court.”
It is also understood that Guy Goodes has left his post as lead assistant to the GB men’s team to join his native Israel in the same role, with Joe Prunty likely to promote Nate Reinking to be his number two.
Revised GB Women’s roster
Player Height Position
Dominique Allen 6’4 Forward
Ella Clark 6’3 Forward
Stef Collins 5’6 Point guard
Temi Fagbenle 6’4 Forward
Steph Gandy 5’10 Forward
Nicole How 5’6 Point guard
Erin McGarrachan 6’0 Forward
Helen Naylor 5’11 Forward
Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby 6’4 Forward
Chantelle Pressley 6’1 Forward
Kathryn Rendell 6’2 Forward
Eilidh Simpson 5’7 Guard
Azania Stewart 6’5 Centre
Lauren Thomas-Johnson 5’10 Guard
Rachel Vanderwal 5’9 Guard/Point guard
Jenaya Wade-Frey 5’9 Guard
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