CLARK WANTS PLAYER VOICE IN CHANGES

Dan Clark insists Great Britain’s best basketballers have a role to play in rebuilding the sport.

With GB preparing to meet Greece on Saturday at London’s Copper Box in their only home game of 2017, the focus has been off the court with the conclusion of a new licence deal with the British Basketball League and ongoing talks over bringing in fresh funding from both Sport England and third-party sources.

The insight of the players can contribute, says Clark, who has seen the successful Spanish system up close over several years spent overseas.

And he’s revealed a meeting with BBF chief executive Lisa Wainwright this week has helped remove some of the barriers that have built up between the governing body and its star performers in recent years.

“In all the years, I’ve been involved with GB, it’s the first time someone from the board has come to us and explained things, the way things happen, from their point of view,” he said.

“We always get things second-hand and the message does get passed on about the funding, the organisation and the way things work. We’re a lot more up to date now and on the same page. It was very productive.”

Among the points understood to have been raised was a lack of cohesion that exists between British coaches and the national set-up, a critical observation as the federation prepares to name a successor to Joe Prunty as senior men’s coach.

It isn’t that the next man in charge must be from the UK, Clark insists. But after so many years without a homegrown voice on the bench, there must be scope to build bridges, he adds.

“I definitely know we need British people involved, whether it’s as a head coach or as an assistant or as a film guy,” the Londoner said. “We need a British influence. There are good people around the team now but British coaches can learn from them. It’s not a case of what position they have but you need an involvement.”

Clark, who is holding talks with a number of clubs after opting not to return to Murcia, has been one of the UK’s most successful exports into mainland Europe, taking the route beyond the Channel rather than heading to the States in his teens.

With a new BBL licence, there are hopes that more of the best British talent can be lured home in due course but a lot would have to change to get me back, the 2012 Olympian admits.

“I’m not a big fan of the BBL, the way it works and the ambition that the teams have,” Clark said. “There’s more of a market in the UK to build up a sports team.

“I’m not talking about being the same as football but I do think there is room to grow and I don’t see BBL teams looking to move into that space and grow in their local areas or cities. They seem happy to be big fish in small ponds. That’s harsh but it’s the reality.

“We need to move beyond that. How they do it, I’m not sure. But as a player, there’s nothing I’d love more than to come home and play in the UK. But it’s impossible now, given that it’s not beneficial in any way.”

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