Marc Steutel expects Great Britain to test Greece despite the absences of Ovie Soko and Myles Hesson.

With the visitors landing in Newcastle on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Thursday’s opening game in the first phase of qualifying for the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup, GB finally unveiled their 12-man roster following three days in camp with late addition, London Lions centre Jordan Williams, set to earn his first cap.

But there is the blow from not having Japan-based duo Soko and Hesson who, according to a team source, abandoned plans to travel to the UK when strict quarantine rules in the country made it unfeasible.

Poland-based big Kavell Bigby-Williams returns for the first time since 2017 while Jamell Anderson will earn his third cap and there is a recall for Carl Wheatle with Jacob Round omitted at the last.

Teddy Okereafor, winning his 50th cap, will overtake Bill McInnes for the record for most consecutive games played for GB’s senior men.

Steutel, once again at the helm in the absence of Nate Reinking, believes the hosts can be awkward foes despite a 1-10 all-time record against their opponents, including a narrow 94-92 defeat in Leicester four years ago during Tony Garbelotto’s brief spell as head coach.

“I think they’re going to pose some challenges for us but I absolutely feel we’ll do the same for them,” said Steutel.

“I think we’ve developed as a basketball team, I think we’ve got some real areas of strengths – such as our continuity within the squad – and that really lends itself to some advantages on the floor. How we play, how we compete, how we progress and the areas of the game that we try and really focus on are all dependant on those strengths in terms of trying to lead in those key areas.

“I think Greece pose a lot of challenges that leave us trying to figure out some solutions and no matter what happens I am sure there will be more challenges come the game because Greece will want to surprise us and we’ll want to do the same for them.”


Forwards: Gabe Olaseni, Jordan Williams, Ashley Hamilton, Dan Clark, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Jamell Anderson, Carl Wheatle

Guards: Teddy Okereafor, Luke Nelson, Ben Mockford, Tarik Phillip, Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye

The game will be live on the BBC Red Button.

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