Luol Deng has joined the criticism of British Basketball’s management, saying their inaction is a prime reason for his international exile.
The Miami Heat forward has not represented Great Britain since the 2012 Olympics, leading to accusations of disloyalty from within the sport as the national side has slid down the FIBA rankings and lost its UK Sport funding.
But although Deng – who is hosting a development camp in London this weekend – admits insurance issues over his £6m annual contract in the NBA is a factor, he has mirrored the recent barb thrown by former team-mate Drew Sullivan at the lack of relationship building and vision shown by the governing body.
“I have no idea where British basketball is going,” told the Daily Star. “I really don’t. Until there’s a clear picture, a plan, I don’t know… If it’s: ‘Hey, this is the goal in two years we want to be here, let’s get everybody together’ then great.“But I don’t know. I wonder how many people British basketball is in communication with, besides the coach. The coach has been calling everybody, but who’s really in charge of reaching out to players? I’ve said this for years.”
It points the finger of blame towards National Teams Director Warwick Cann who is coming under increasing pressure to consider his position with Sullivan among a number of players who have called out British Basketball for their failure to build the long-term buy-in achieved by successful countries such as Spain and France.
“You’ve got guys playing all over Europe and they don’t hear anything, then as soon as the summer comes you want to reach out to them? It doesn’t work like that,” Deng added in the interview with the Star.
“You have to let them know what the goal is, what you’re targeting.”