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If there were no YouTube, then Eilidh Simpson might still be balling for fun.

Perhaps, while working up a sweat while working on her tan on the sandy beaches of Melbourne.

Quite a contrast from her current existence, playing professionally in the warm winter glow of Spain while featuring internationally this weekend in the sure-to-be stifling atmosphere that awaits in Podgorica for Great Britain’s opening EuroBasket qualifier against Montenegro tonight.

It is one more stamp in the passport for the 23-year-old of English and Scottish parentage who has become accustomed to travelling wherever her next air ticket dictates, even since she embraced the invitation to leave family and friends behind to move to New York when she was barely 18, accepting a scholarship to St. Francis College in Brooklyn after the coaching staff had talent-spotted her online.

“I knew the dream was to play college basketball,” she said. “I was lucky in that my club coach was really behind me. He made a highlight video of me and put it out there on YouTube to try and help and he was right.

“College coaches started calling me. I got some offers. I was playing with a girl at the time and we were lucky in that they gave us both an offer to come to New York. And I ended up having the best four years of my life.”

From bouncing around the Big Apple and beyond, Spain is now her European base after landing a professional contract with Liga Feminina outfit Zamarat last summer, joining what is now an enlarged British ex-pat grouping in the country.

“It’s certainly different to college,” she confirms. “Living in Spain, not many people speak English. But it’s a great league and you have Azania (Stewart), Rachael (Vanderwal), Ella (Clark) and Jamila (Thompson) playing there from this team. We play against each other and it’s always good to see familiar faces.”

With Zamarat, she has straddled the backcourt, asked to run the point after becoming a specialist as a shooting guard. An extra string to the bow, something GB coach Jose Maria Buceta can easily utilise in the absence of longtime starter Stef Collins.

And although the Spaniard has instilled an entirely new playbook ahead of the trip to Podgorica, some core values have been wisely retained from those who have gone before.

“The GB Way for us is doing things 100% every time,” Simpson confirms. “We’re going to dive on the ball. We’re going to go full out every play. We’re going to make each other better. We don’t care who scores 25 points. We’ll work as hard as we can.”

Youth gets its shot

Jose Maria Buceta will lean on his old hands with so little prep time for Montenegro. But his new kids on the block should be ready to step forward, the Spaniard told MVP.

Against forecasts pre-camp, GB have travelled with two teenage debutantes with Savannah Wilkinson and Eleanor Jones set for their senior debuts before either turns 18.

Both, Buceta confirms, made a telling impression in the build-up and upon arrival here, the veteran playcaller allocated time to give the duo separate drills and specific encouragement.

With a need to nurture new faces, they will be tasked primarily with watching and learning but each has the potential to speedily assimilate.

“You’ve seen so many teenagers picked out as the next Michael Jordan and then do nothing,” he said. “And if you are humble, if you are open minded to learn, that helps.

“Eleanor has this but you need to continue to work hard physically and be smart. Same with Savannah. They are people we have to look after but they have to look after themselves too. But there are young players in Britain who can be good in the future but it’s step by step.”

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