OLASENI MAKES PRESENCE FELT

Gabe Olaseni has become Great Britain’s beast in the paint at EuroBasket.

Not only is the centre leading his team in points (19.7), rebounds (11.3) and blocks (0.7) per game after three games, he is heading the tournament rankings by a country mile in field goal percentage (78.1) – and, most significantly of all, in player efficiency, with the five men immediately below him all currently plying their trade in the NBA.

Not bad for the 25-year-old Londoner, who averaged barely under three points and three boards during his only Euroleague run with Bamberg in 2015-16 but who will jump from France’s Pro A into the spotlight of the Spanish ACB with Fuenlabrada next term.

And his ability to hustle in the paint, particularly offensively, where GB’s guards – and Dan Clark – have learnt to feed his cuts or low-post excursions are paying dividends in Istanbul even as the side has remained winless in Group D.

”Gabe is outstanding,” said British coach Joe Prunty. “He’s been great for us. The things he does to impact the game – you talk about efficiency. He gets to his spot and does so consistently. The great thing is you don’t have to run a play for him.

Generally, people get call up in wanting a play called of them. He doesn’t worry about that. He just stays focused on what the goals is. He wants to win like everyone on our team. He’s not afraid to do the duty work. He’s got a double-double in all three games.”

Yet the former University of Iowa standout does as much off the ball, and off the court, Prunty adds.

“He’s always positive and focused on getting the win. He’s a tremendous screener and he knows where to be on the floor for us to be effective as a team. He’s very unselfish. He’ll make the extra pass. A guy like him is invaluable.”

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