The reunions are coming thick and fast for the Reinkings this week.

For Nate’s wife and kids, back in the UK for the first time since Covid blockaded trans-Atlantic flight paths. “A rough time,” he acknowledges. An opportunity too for Great Britain’s head coach to finally catch up with old friends and foes from his basketball playing pomp in Sheffield.

And, of course, to take the helm in person of the national team for only the fifth time against Greece in Larissa on Thursday evening (6pm).

It was never supposed to turn out this way. Reinking has been more a de facto GM from across the Atlantic where his primary commitment is as assistant at the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Despite widespread scepticism (a hand up, here) an unorthodox arrangement that saw Marc Steutel empowered as stand-in has delivered an astonishing run of positive results with GB already into the second round of qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA World Cup and – of greater, immediate significance – bound for EuroBasket this summer.

“When I did the four games a while ago,” Reinking reveals, “my main message was ‘this is your team.’ This is a players team. Because I’ve been involved so long, I knew how much responsibility and accountability exists from just being a player, and how important that is.

“And to build that core, the chemistry, amongst a group of guys to commit to every window. Just because I lived it for so many years, on both sides, the player and coaching side. So that was my message to them.

“And I think they took it and ran with it. Because the whole programme is bigger than you. The guys that have committed over these windows have really built something special. And you can see it through their success over some major competitions.

“And the staff like Coach Steutel, (assistants) Andreas Kapoulas and Jamie Smith, and all the guys that have committed into it, window after window when I have not been there.

“They’ve taken this and ran with it and did special things over the last almost three years. “

Steutel’s contribution has been stellar. Lacking experience at the professional level, he was an inspired choice as deputy – enough to garner him interest overseas before he was appointed in charge of Newcastle Eagles at the outset of the off-season.

Reinking has schemed. The Scouser has implemented.

“It’s been unbelievable to watch,” the Ohio-born, London 2012 Olympian, declares. “And again, when we talked about this process, we wanted continuity for the players.

“I want them to feel that continuity without the unknown of a different coach or a different philosophy every single time.

“And Marc, he’s put his own stamp on it. And you can see that success and how good a coach he is, because he’s taken it and get us back to a major competition again.”

Remote working is something we’ve all gotten used to since 2020.

It helped immensely that Reinking had whatever passes for the DNA of GB basketball running through him from his playing days and a stint on the coaching staff of Joe Prunty.

He will be on the bench, he confirmed, when EuroBasket begins for the Brits in Milan, against Ukraine, on September 2.

This weekend, he will blood Jaiden Delaire, Callum Lawson and Patrick Whelan – in line for senior debuts against the Greeks – while there is a long-awaited return for his one-time international colleague Devon van Oostrum.

Luke Nelson, Ovie Soko and Tarik Phillip, he hopes, will be available later in the summer after missing this Greek trip and Sunday’s home date with Turkey in Newcastle.

More reunions await there.

“Watching it from afar, this is something I’ve missed,” he underlines. “And I’m looking forward to Newcastle.

“They’ve always had great crowds there. They love basketball. It’s going to be fun.

“Because of my extended time away from the UK, it’s great. It’ll be unbelievable to be back in front of the home crowd, especially against a major world power.”


Jamell Anderson (Cheshire Phoenix), 4 caps
Kavell Bigby-Williams (Indios de San Francisco (DOM), 8
Dan Clark  (Manchester Giants), 110
Jaiden Delaire  (Stanford University (USA)),  0
Myles Hesson (Kagawa Five Arrows (JPN)), 45
Kyle Johnson  (Hamilton Honey Badgers (CAN)), 83
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye  (Heroes Den Bosch (NED)),  10
Callum Lawson  (Valur (ISL)),  0
Gabe Olaseni (Darussafaka (TUR)), 42
Devon van Oostrum  (Melilla (ESP)), 40
Carl Wheatle  (Pistoia (ITA)), 17
Patrick Whelan (Leicester Riders)  0

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