Great Britain head coach Chris Finch has just a month to mesh a team that can take on Europe’s best in Lithuania. He insists that’s enough time.

Speaking in diplomatic tones, the Houston Rockets newest assistant coach is quick to avoid fuelling the current speculation over when Luol Deng and Ben Gordon will report to training camp in Surrey – if at all.

However, protocols aside, their absence is a distraction that any coach could well do without, given the tight schedule ahead to ready his players for EuroBasket 2011, as well as the showcase Olympic test event in London.

Group rivals Turkey are into their third week of preparation. Spain has already been able to whittle its squad down to 15. Both teams have their NBA players on site and in uniform. Britain, you feel, are a step behind already with ground to make up.

“Of course, the more time you can spend together, the better,” Finch acknowledges.

“But for me it’s about striking a balance. We have so many players scattered throughout the world and when we bring them together, I’d rather be much more focused in the lead-up than have a programme where you come together and break up.”

Flinder Boyd will battle for the PG spot (Dan Wooller)

His forecast on a full-strength team, the injured Pops Mensah-Bonsu aside, boarding the plane to Riga in four weeks time? “Cautiously optimistic.”

In the interim, he will test and cajole some of his new faces to prove their worth just in case there are extra spots to fill.

For once, there are as many questions as certainties over the composition of the final 12-man roster. There are more places up for grabs than fixed, Finch maintains.

And in certain positions, notably in the point guard role, there is likely to be a fierce battle to earn the starting spot which was held last year by Ogo Adegboye, as well as opportunities in reserve.

“What we’re finding at the point guard spot is that we’re starting to get depth,” he affirms. “It’s young but it’s deep. What we’ve done is gone with who’s played the best over the last few years. Ogo had a break-out last summer which was nice. Flinder’s healthy so I expect a better Flinder Boyd this year.

“And there are younger kids, (Andrew) Lawrence and (Devon) van Oostrum who aren’t out. We have choices. There is some inexperience, Flinder aside. It could come down to who plays the best on the day. You don’t ideally want a point guard by committee but if that’s what works, we’ll do it.”

There are other new faces jetting into Cobham. Laurence Ekperigin, who played in Italy last season, was a recruit out of the blue. So too Chris Ayer, a late nominee who Finch saw up close in the NBA D-League last season.

“He’s big. He’s active. He’s pretty bouncy. He’s got a nose for a rebound. He gets up and down well. But it will be about assessing him at this level,” Finch states.

“One of our over-riding policies is to keep incorporating new guys into the programme whenever we get the opportunity and they’re good enough. We don’t get together that much so we need to make sure we give new guys a chance.”

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