Former Great Britain captain Kieron Achara is to retire at the end of the season.

The Glasgow Rocks forward, now 35, claimed the time is right to hang up his boots after almost a decade as one of Scotland’s most successful basketballers at home and abroad.

The Stirling-born star will depart as GB’s second-most capped men’s player of all-time with 105 appearances, in addition to earning over 30 caps for Scotland.

But after playing almost 600 games and scoring over 5000 points with stints in six different countries, Achara admits he feels the need for a change of direction.

“I feel like I am still performing well for Glasgow but my interest has increasingly veered towards forging my next career off the basketball court,” Achara said.

“Having played at so many different environments, and enjoyed many rich and varied experiences, I’ll now look to put my knowledge together in a different environment, either in sport or in business.

“But I know I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunities given to me, from captaining Scotland and GB, to featuring at an Olympic Games and at EuroBasket finals, earning a scholarship to Duquesne University in the USA, and to being able to come home and finish my career with the Rocks.”

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Achara, who began his career at Scottish League side Falkirk Fury, top-scored in GB’s lone win at the London 2012 Olympics, against China, and skippered Scotland in their run to the semi-finals of last year’s Commonwealth Games.

And although he has been handed a key role at the Rocks community foundation, club chair Duncan Smillie admits his on-court exit will leave a huge void.

“Now he’s decided to retire, we can appreciate how much he’s done for both the club and for the game in Scotland especially,” Smillie said.

“We certainly hope he’ll be associated with us off-court for years to come. And he’s a good role model, a good father and a good athlete, and whatever he does, what he’s achieved will be an asset in what he does next. Hopefully we can give him a good send-off in the BBL Playoffs.”

Achara, who will also leave his development role at BasketballScotland, added: “I’ve been lucky that so many good coaches and clubs have shown faith in my abilities.

“So, I plan to remain actively involved in trying to open doors for young talent in this country and to keep pushing for constant improvements in the development system so that we can achieve the kind of successes I believe are possible.”

Former Great Britain head coach Joe Prunty, who made Achara his captain upon taking over in 2013, led the tributes to the Scot.

“Kieron should be proud of his career and GB accomplishments,” said the current Phoenix Suns assistant coach. “He loved playing for GB and always wanted to see the programme grow and be successful. He brought his passion and enthusiasm to the team every day.

“His contributions go well beyond playing the games. He has represented GB, Scotland, and his family with great character and class.”

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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