DENG, MULLENS ARE GB ABSENTEES

Great Britain v Turkey Luol deng 568NBA duo Luol Deng and Byron Mullens have been confirmed among the absentees as Great Britain begin training camp with a 17-strong squad in Worcester in advance of next month’s EuroBasket qualifiers.

With Ovie Soko also withdrawing, and James Jones and Justin Robinson injured, Devon Bailey, Conner Washington and Orlan Jackman have been added, leaving ten of the squad who performed so creditably at EuroBasket 2013.

Last year’s co-captains Drew Sullivan and Kieron Achara will both be back alongside last year’s top scorer Dan Clark. After an excellent domestic season, Myles Hesson returns as do fellow 2012 Olympians Eric Boateng and Kyle Johnson. Young guard Devon Van Oostrum and Ogo Adegboye return from 2013.

Officials have not yet wholly ruled Deng out with sources confirming they have had no firm indication that the new Miami Heat signing will be available..

GB senior head coach Joe Prunty said: “Players’ professional commitments and injuries have impacted our squad. It has also limited our opportunity to see some new talent in 2014.

“However, we have the core of last year’s successful 2013 team in place. We’re excited and ready to take on this challenge. It’s an important year and we are committed to qualifying for EuroBasket 2015.”

The latest drop-outs are in addition to Joel Freeland’s withdrawal with the Portland Trail Blazers centre last week claiming national team duty would not benefit his career.

National Teams Director Warwick Cann said: “We understand our players’ positions and we respect them. Any side would miss players of this quality but we have confidence in our talent system and we believe that that talent is starting to come through, as evidenced by our under-20 wins over Latvia and Greece.

“Every leading basketball nation now has players in the NBA and we are not alone. Our job is to continue to bring through talent so that we can continue to compete on the sport’s highest stages.”

GB’s first two preparation games against Latvia take place this weekend on Saturday 19 July and Sunday July 20. Both games tip off at 3pm.

Pic: BB/Mansoor Ahmed

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