Two of Great Britain’s key men are looking forward to more success in 2020 following a positive 2019.
It is the first time in the 72-year history of the GB Men’s team have ended the calendar year unbeaten – they finish with a perfect 6-0 record.
The team heads into the February 21 game against Montenegro with a seven-game FIBA winning streak, the biggest in programme history, stretching all the way back to GB’s 75-61 win over Cyprus on December 3, 2018.
Looking back at 2019 and the team’s achievements “going unbeaten and qualifying for the next round of EuroBasket” ranked highest for team captain Myles Hesson.
GB veteran Ashley Hamilton, who returned to the fold following a four-year hiatus, said: “The highs for me were getting to spend time with my friends again and being on the same team and competing. Touring [with GB] is a lot of fun and a breath of fresh air.”
The team demonstrated an increased level of chemistry under new head coach Nate Reinking as high-tempo, unselfish, and exciting play became an integral part of GB’s brand.
This was most apparent in GB’s 101-79 win over Kosovo when GB recorded 32 assists, the highest recorded assist total in GB history.
“We all play unselfish basketball and it really showed in that game [against Kosovo]. We all know how each other play now and enjoy sharing the ball on offense,” said Hesson.
Hamilton added: “We had a good group of guys who understood the window for what it was. Everyone came in and played the role necessary to win and succeed. There was no ego or sense of entitlement. A few guys were out due to injury or other reasons but were still very much a part of the camp and team.”
Hesson believes this is just the beginning of a new era of GB Basketball and the best is yet to come. “We have a strong core of guys playing at a high level, and I think we are all starting to realize our potential individually and collectively.”
Looking ahead to 2020 there is growing excitement within the team, especially with the opportunity to prove themselves against the World’s elite with games against world number five France, 18th-ranked Germany, and 26th-ranked Montenegro.
Hamilton can’t wait for the February window, adding: “I’m excited to keep our win streak going and see what we can achieve with the step up in competition.”
Meanwhile, Hesson is most looking forward to “being back in camp with the guys and playing against some strong teams in front of our home fans… 2019 was a great year for us on the court and we hope to build on that good form in the year to come.”
GB travel to Montenegro on February 21 and host Germany, at the venue to be confirmed, on February 24.