Preview: U18 Men’s European Championships
Great Britain’s Under-18 Men begin their busy summer schedule this week in Manchester ahead of the Division A Fiba European Championships in Greece later this month.
The preparations for Greece include a practice tournament in Lyon, France from July 5-7 where coach Alan Keane’s squad will test the waters over a series of three games before heading back to the UK to continue training camp.
“Bringing a group of young men together for a short intense period of time, out of their comfort zone, where the experience is new is something to very mindful of in preparation,” said Reading Rockets lead man Keane. “The pre-Euro games are where you find out the most. This year we only have 3 games before we head off to Greece for the Euros which is very challenging when preparing for a championship. Preparation games always reveal who is currently capable of dealing with the elevated level of play, the pressure of performance and keeping your head above water.”
The players then head to Volos, Greece on July 22 for their last stint of pre-tournament prep before taking on Turkey in their first Group A game July 27. The men then face Serbia on the 28th and Germany on the 29th to conclude the group stage.
“Who wouldn’t want to play Serbia in your opening game and then follow that up with games against Turkey and Germany the following two days?” said Keane. “We have already scouted all three teams in depth either from last years Would Championships U17 and last year U16 Euros to identify returning coaches and players.”
“It is incredibly exciting to see the calibre we are going against. We will approach these three games as we plan to approach everything – prepared, excited and committed. That is what we need to be successful!”
GB will look to improve on year’s U18 Fiba European Championships in Latvia, after falling to the host nation in the quarter-finals to eventually claim seventh place.
“They are some things we will try to do a bit differently without reinventing the wheel,” said coach Keane. “First of all we must plan according to the strengths and weaknesses of the current crop of players. If we simply plan to do what we want to do then we could be in for a very disappointing summer.”
“The players and their abilities will very dictate what we do. It is a matter or doing it to the best of their individual abilities and collectively doing bring that together on court as a team.”
The U18 Men’s Fiba Division A European Championships take place from 27 July-4 August in Volos, Greece.