Drew Sullivan believes Great Britain can now beginning plotting a path to the quarter-finals of the Olympic basketball tournament after avoiding the USA in Monday’s draw in Rio.

Chris Finch’s side will renew their rivalry with European champions Spain in the group stages in London, as well as facing Australia, China, Brazil and one of the sides progressing from June’s qualifying tournament in Venezuela.

While the tougher Group A pits the defending champions USA against Argentina, France, Tunisia and two additional qualifiers.

“When you’re involved an Olympic Games, you know you’re playing against the best of the best, so there isn’t such a thing as an easy draw,” said Sullivan. “As a nation we are extremely proud of making it this far but that’s only part of the goals we’ve laid out for ourselves. We’ll continue to try and improve with a strong training camp once we are all together. We understand the challenge ahead of us and it is something we are all looking forward to.”

Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon added: “There is no doubt this is a tough group. Now that we know who we are playing the players and coaches as well as all of our fans can sense the Olympics are just around the corner. I can’t wait to get started.”

Britain’s women were handed a much tougher draw after landing 2011 EuroBasket winners Russia as well as perennial powers Australia – who they face in their tournament opener – and Brazil, plus two qualifiers to be decided in Turkey ahead of the Games.

“Now that the draw has been made, it brings everything into perspective and it all feels very real,” said GB captain Julie Page. “I am ecstatic by the prospect of the Olympic tournament and cannot wait to take to the court against these teams. The competition are tough but we are looking forward to lining up against them in the summer. We have an extremely strong preparation period ensuring we are fully prepared and raring to go.”

The USA, favourites to repeat their gold medal of 2008, take on Angola, China and three qualifiers in the other group.

During the London 2012 Games, the Basketball Arena on the Olympic Park will host the Men’s preliminary games and Women’s event up to quarter final stage. The men’s quarter-finals and women’s semi-finals onwards will then move to the North Greenwich Arena.

The Women’s tournament tips-off with the first group game on Saturday 28 July, ending with the Women’s Gold Medal game on Saturday 11 August. The Men’s tournament tips-off with the first group game on Sunday 29 July, ending with the Men’s Gold Medal game on Sunday 12 August.

And with the hosts taking part for the first time since the Games of 1948, Pops Mensah-Bonsu – who featured for Turkish side Besiktas in Sunday’s Eurochallenge final – admits the draw will only heighten his anticipation.

“It’s just as the days get closer and closer, the excitement builds. You get to feel it a little bit more every day,” said the London-born forward. “It’s three months until the opening ceremony and every day I step on the floor, I try to get better and better as a player. Because I want to be at my best.

“I want to perform to the best of my ability so that when it’s time for the ball to be thrown up in Stratford, I’ll be at my peak and able to represent my country. And whoever we face, whether it’s the USA or Spain or anybody, I know we’ll be there competing.”

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