ACHARA, BOYD OUT AS FINCH WIELDS AXE

Kieron Achara and Flinder Boyd were the surprise names on the cuts list on Wednesday as Great Britain’s basketball squad was trimmed ahead of next week’s Olympic test event in London.

Achara, the Stirling-born forward, who last week signed a deal with top Spanish side Manresa, was a key part of the squad which impressed in the 2009 EuroBasket finals in Poland as well as in last year’s qualification campaign.

However the 28-year-old was the surprise omission after GB coach Chris Finch opted to gamble on several younger players as the fight for places on the plane to EuroBasket 2011 hots up.

Devon van Oostrum, still just 18 years old, was rewarded for his game-high performance in a friendly against Nigeria with a spot in the 15 remaining, along with Andrew Lawrence, Ryan Richards and Kyle Johnson.

But there is no place for fellow veteran Boyd, who lost his starting job to Ogo Adegboye last summer, while Justin Robinson and Devan Bailey – also squad members last year – as well as under 20 star, Alex Marcotullio, joined the exodus.

“Cutting this group to 15 was very difficult,” said Finch.

“The guys who have been released today are part of the GB family and have committed multiple summers to our cause – I respect and appreciate their commitment. It was hard to let them go.”

Luol Deng and Rob Archibald are both expected to report this weekend as preparations step up for Lithuania.

“The first phase of training camp was very productive. The addition of Luol and Rob over the next few days will obviously help,” Finch added.

“The test event provides us with an opportunity to see our guys versus outstanding competition. The final 12 players will have earned their spot once we head to Lithuania for the EuroBasket finals at the end of the month.”

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