deng_shocked_bw_568Luol Deng has accused British Basketball chiefs of failing to do enough to persuade our best players to suit up for Team GB.

The Chicago Bulls star, who sat out EuroBasket this off-season, thinks the likes of Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens – who are eligible, but have yet to actually play for the national side – would take GB to the next level. But getting them on board will require more effort from British Basketball.

“I’ve always said, we could be a great team, and could make a lot of noise in Europe,” he said.

“We certainly have the players to do it, in Joel (Freeland), Byron, Ben and myself. I just think it’s now up to GB to make that commitment, and show how much they want to go after those guys and make sure that they play.”

When coach Joe Prunty took over the reigns earlier this year, he told MVP he was still actively chasing Gordon, saying: “We’re in constant contact as much as possible with all the players that we’re trying to get. I don’t want to focus specifically on Ben, but he’s definitely somebody we’d like to have involved in the programme.”

1. Standard Life GB head coach, Joe Prunty

Prunty and co have, apparently, come up short of Deng’s expectations

But there’s not been enough in Deng’s eyes, with the finger of blame understood to be pointing in the direction of performance chief Warwick Cann.

“With any player, it’s just like any other job, the more you show them attention and show them how interested you are, the more they want to play for you,” he said.

“GB has to be in touch with these guys, and even hire somebody who can go and watch them every now and then.

“I currently don’t see that being done. If a guy comes over once a month, and makes a road trip to see all the GB players, and just keeps them updated, I think that’s an encouraging factor, that shows the players that you care.”

Ben Gordon got his British passport in 2010

Ben Gordon got his British passport in 2010

BB performance chairman Roger Moreland said he appreciated Deng’s views as they continue to try to work within their financial restraints.

“We know our players care deeply about GB as do we,” he told Press Association Sport. “We are constantly looking at every aspect of what we do to make things better.

“One of Joe Prunty’s biggest strengths is his ability to communicate and as an experienced NBA coach of long-standing, he is ideally placed to engage with the players in North America.

“The players are a top priority for us and we always look forward to discussing how we can, together, take GB on to an even higher level of achievement on and off the court.”


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