Dan Clark and Marc Steutel say the decision to axe GB’s Under-20 teams is “bitterly disappointing.

The strident views from Great Britain’s captain and acting head coach echoes criticism from their absent colleague Myles Hesson and from elsewhere following Friday’s announcement that British Basketball and the three home nations will not supply the cash to enter the programme at next summer’s European Championships.

A triple blow for some in that age group who had been denied a shot at representing their country at Under-18 level due to Covid over the past two years.

And Clark, among ten of the current 13-man senior squad who featured at U20 during their career ascent, believes the move is a dereliction of duty from the sport’s governing bodies.

“There’s been comments shared on social, media from various members of the GB team who are very disappointed in the decision,” the veteran Manchester Giants forward said.

“It’s played a huge part in our growth as players and our growth as people. I just think the people in charge need to understand that, and recognise what that programme gives, and how that programme produces at an elite level.

“Not just for the guys here but many other guys who have played professionally who have come through that programme. It’s a great stepping stone coming out of the junior programmes into a senior programme and a great platform for them to show what they can do at an international level.

“It’s disappointing. It’s almost heart-breaking. We were talking on the plane: the 2001/2002 generation didn’t get to play Under-18 basketball and now won’t get to play under-20 basketball.

“For them, it’s a big loss and hopefully it doesn’t affect them long-term.”

His critique echoed that of Steutel, who cut his teeth at the helm of the Under-20 squad, as did his assistant in this week’s FIBA World Cup qualifiers, Andreas Kapoulas.

Although Under-16 and Under-18s have been protected with financial input and resource from Basketball England, Scotland and Wales, the next group up has been deemed expendable with the trio opting not to fund U20s.

“I’m deflated, bitterly disappointed for many reasons,” Steutel said. “I wasn’t aware of the decision until it was on social media. The Under-20 programme has been built up for many years … the first I was aware of it was when I was on the plane travelling here.

“I did a head count and ten of the 13 who were in the squad in the current window came through that pathway. I came through that pathway. Andreas my assistant came through that pathway.

“So I’m bitterly disappointed and deflated and probably angry without really understanding the context to it which is probably another issue.

“I’ve read something about finances. But that’s a word I’ve not understanding about I know how much that programme is to run. But without having any dialogue about potential solutions in November for a programme next summer.”

Tinker with the formula at your peril, he warned.

“It’s been proven to show the impact on the senior men and senior women,” Steutel added.

Image: FIBA

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login