RICHARDS POISED FOR GB RETURN

Tony Garbelotto’s first Great Britain squad could contain one large surprise.

It is understood Ryan Richards has made himself available for selection for the first time since 2011 with the former NBA second round draft pick telling British Basketball officials that he is ready to make a return.

Cut by then-coach Chris Finch in Riga on the eve of EuroBasket 2011 after winning seven caps, the now-26-year-old subsequently expressed a wish to compete instead for Jamaica but an international transfer was never approved.

The Kent native, who finished last season in Iran after spells in Macedonia and Bahrain, has been on a global tour since he was drafted by the Spurs as raw teen, plying his trade in places like China, Austria, Poland and Hungary.

He spent a brief period in camp in San Antonio in the summer of 2016 but was formally waived, ending a protracted quest to reach the NBA.

But with no prospect seemingly of a return for Joel Freeland – who is thought to solely be considering NBA offers at present despite reports linking him with Real Madrid – availability could offer Garbelotto an intriguing option if he signs on for camp next month ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Estonia.

“Ryan’s really willing to play,” a source close to the player confirmed. “He hasn’t got a club yet so he was thinking about getting a shoulder operation.

“But when the possibility of coming back for GB was put out there, he changed his mind, especially when it was laid out how much the programme has changed since he was last involved.”

Garbelotto is set to name his first squad at the start of November.

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