GB head into the final window of EuroBasket 2022 qualifying this weekend, facing Germany and France on Saturday and Monday respectively.
The team came out on top in the last meeting with Germany, picking up an 81-73 win at the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena back in February 2020.
Luke Nelson led the way on the night – recording a game-high 26 points for the hosts. The 25-year-old guard feels that win shows the talent of the GB team:
“The win against Germany was huge for us, another sign that we can be competitive within European basketball, and it gave us a good chance to proceed to EuroBasket.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, Nelson is hoping to use the momentum from November’s crucial win over Montenegro to carry confidence into the games:
“Our mindset is to use the momentum from the last window to go into Montenegro and secure our place at EuroBasket, and that means being at our highest level for our first game. For now, all the focus is on the first game.”
With a ticket to EuroBasket the prize, Nelson believes getting the team back on the European stage will demonstrate the progress made in British basketball:
“Getting back to EuroBasket would be huge for us because we are trying to establish ourselves amongst the best in a very-competitive European basketball scene. To make it back to the tournament proves that we are heading in the right direction.”
GB’s success in recent years – winning nine of the last 11 games – has been credited to a solid core group of players that the team is built around each window. Nelson has been an important part of that group and believes the continuity has helped both on and off the court:
“Having the core group has been good for us as we’ve been able to develop good chemistry on the court and shorten the learning curve of each short window. It’s something that has been shown in the recent games.”
The first game of the November window proved to be a tough night for the team, falling short against World Cup medallists, France. Nelson views the game as a learning experience, acknowledging the team know where they can improve ahead of the second meeting next Monday:
“We have to learn from our mistakes against France and adjust for our second game, giving us a better chance of coming out on top.”
Both upcoming games will be available to stream online in the UK via FIBA’s livebasketball.tv.