Great Britain play New Zealand in London on Saturday evening. We catch up with head coach Joe Prunty.

It’s just a mini-camp and a single friendly against New Zealand but what are you hoping to accomplish with this brief gathering?

It’s invaluable. This is incredible to get to work to all these guys. I know we’ll only have had three practices which is short but we have a lot of new players who are very talented. And that’s not including the players who aren’t here. We can’t invite 50 people and have them all in camp, we’d get nothing out of it. But this is an opportunity to evaluate guys we’ve seen on film or with the U20s.

Seeing them live, teaching them, working with them, that’s invaluable. But it’s also valuable to have guys like Justin Robinson who have only been with us for one session. Andrew Lawrence coming back in. So it’s a good mix of guys who haven’t been with us at all, guys who have been here once, and guys who have been there for a long time.

Have you reached out to GB Under-20 coach Doug Leichner to take about what talent he has coming through for what will be the next senior team?

Absolutely. Doug and I send emails back and forth when we’re in the States. We might make a phone call here and there. We’ll get caught up in our seasons but there is communication about who has come through the U20s. And also between myself and (National Teams Director) Warwick Cann, about the younger guys in different age divisions.

Inevitably, we’ll see some change in the roster with a view to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2012 but, give your NBA responsibilities (as associate head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks) are you still interested in being a part of this British Basketball project?

I’ve always wanted to continue. There are constant battles but that’s no different from any national team. There are issues that get brought up which we sometimes can’t control. Our object is to control what we can and put together the best team we can in a given year. Certain guys might not be available. I’d like to continue doing it but that’s not always my decision, right?

Where is the roadblock – insurance costs apart – from getting the likes of Joel Freeland and Luol Deng to return for Great Britain?

That’s something you’ll need to address with them. The funny thing is people think that we are the only country that deals with that. On a consistent basis, every country has players who do not play, who are missing one year or all years. New Zealand will be without guys who might be expected to play. Every year there are decisions that need to be made on a professional or personal level.

This game at the Copper Box is Drew Sullivan’s 100th cap. It’s probably his last but what has his involvement meant to you?

He’s been great. I remember one of our first conversations, when I was in my driveway and I was trying to get reception on my phone when he called to say he’d be playing that summer. And I was so excited. I appreciate the commitment he’s made every year because it’s hard.

You ask me, do I want to keep doing this? Yes I do. I like working with the guys. There are so many pluses. But it’s time-consuming. It’s time away from work. It’s time away from my family and the off-season. It requires a lot of commitment. And the fact he’s continued to do it every year – getting his 100th cap when some of the guys here don’t have any – it speaks volumes to what he’s contributed over the years.

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