ENGLAND BEG BBL HELP FOR COMMONWEALTHS

The British Basketball League will be asked to approve a raft of fixture changes – and to release players – to accommodate England’s bid for a Commonwealth Games medal.

Invitation letters have now been formally sent to potential participants asking for expressions of interest in attending the first of two preparation camps being held in Manchester later this month with a view to naming an initial 24-man squad under head coach Andreas Kapoulas.

However with no official requirement for clubs to free their players – FIBA release rules do not apply to the Commonwealths – England Basketball has also written to teams to plead their case with the issue also discussed collectively at a BBL board meeting held in Stockport on Tuesday.

It is understood that while not all teams were immediately supportive of allowing any call-ups to go to the Gold Coast next April, one compromise floated is that no more than two players from any one club would be chosen – with the exception being Glasgow Rocks who have already an agreement in place with Basketball Scotland for their leading homegrown recruits as well as an amenable BBL schedule.

With those involved in Great Britain’s World Cup qualifiers set to attend those rather than linking up with England in November and at a second camp in February, the belated nature of the plans put in place by England Basketball are now set to cause a major headache in putting a fully-prepared team on the floor in the Gold Coast in six months time.

But Kapoulas will hope deals can be struck to avoid any conflicts.

“The long list of players is mainly from the BBL and it looks like the squad will be mainly from the BBL,” he said.

“But we have an indication that 3-4 guys will be from European clubs who have agreed to let them come for camp and then possibly release them for the Commonwealths.

“That’s more than I would have expected.”

The Bristol Flyers playcaller concedes he would ideally like to eventually select his squad of 12 from the two dozen that come to camp but with the potential transfer of GB players – plus the possibility of adding anyone who is a free agent and available come Games time – the process may go right up to April.

“What we want is England to be competitive,” Kapoulas underlined.

Thus far, the indication is that most who have been invited will signal they are on board.

“I definitely want to go,” Glasgow guard Kofi Josephs said. “I love any time I can represent my country whether it is GB or England.

“Plus we play Scotland, I can’t wait for that game. I see so many of those guys in practice every day here so I’d love to go against them.”

Meanwhile GB head coach Chema Buceta has named head coach of England Women’s team at the Commonwealths, assisted by Vanessa Ellis and Chris Bunten.

The WBBL is to shut down for three weeks to accommodate the Games.

 

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