Great Britain’s united squad of players can’t wait to get back on court.
Ashley Hamilton is in upbeat mood ahead of the Men’s side’s double-header of FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers against Belarus, with the 45-cap forward revealing the joy that he and his teammates feel when in camp together, and how it helps GB deliver results.
“For the whole group, it is the best feeling to know that we have GB Basketball on the horizon and it is something we all look forward to massively throughout the season with our clubs. They’re 10 days of hard work, but we come together and enjoying being with each other as we try to get the wins.
“There are no egos in the team, there are guys that don’t play minutes sometimes that are more than capable of having big games, but they’re happy to do whatever is right for that window. We support each other, we want success for each other, and it really is one of the best experiences of the season.
“We’ve got what it takes to win anywhere, but Newcastle is a first-class arena, it is sold out every time we go there and we’re very proud of the vibe and the atmosphere that is created there for our games.”
“Those types of games get us ready for the next level”
After beating Greece in front of a packed crowd at Newcastle’s Vertu Motors Arena and facing Turkey in Istanbul’s raucous Sinan Erdem Dome during the last window, the Men’s team experienced playing in front of fans for GB for the first time in 18 months, and will be greeted by two passionate sets of fans in the upcoming games.
Hamilton discussed the extra dimension that a packed crowd of supporters adds to these fixtures, especially away from home, and how this GB squad has grown as a result of their exposure to such high-pressure fixtures over recent years.
“Playing away from home with supporters there adds a whole different element to the game. I can imagine this game being a lot like Montenegro away, with a very passionate crowd where everybody cares about their basketball, and in a nice arena.
“In the last window we protected our home court and won in Newcastle against Greece, so that was very important for us, and against Turkey it was a first experience for us in such a setting, with a 20,000-seat arena, and perhaps we didn’t execute the way we wanted to throughout 40 minutes.
“It was another great experience for us, and you can see how we’re progressing as a result, because the Greece home game is one we might have dropped a few years ago, but we managed to get it done. Those types of games get us ready for the next level, which is where we want to be.”
“This is the ethos of our team”
With mainstays of the Men’s team recent fine run of form such as Myles Hesson and Ovie Soko missing the previous qualifying window, it presented an opportunity for the roster’s strength in depth to shine with the likes of London Lions star Jordan Williams enjoying a GB debut, and Hamilton elaborated on how adversity allowed the team’s ethos to shine.
“Whoever is called upon is more than capable of delivering, whether we have key players missing as we did in the last window or not. The talent in British Basketball right now is fantastic. Players are competing at a high level all over the world, and the talent is so high that we’re leaving great players out in every window.
“Everybody cares, everybody is so committed to doing whatever is needed for the team to win. Last window Carl (Wheatle) didn’t play a lot, nor did Jamell (Anderson), but these are guys that are more than capable of putting in solid performances and making a difference.
“Seeing Jordan (Williams) come in and do so well on his first cap wasn’t a surprise to us. With Myles (Hesson) and Ovie (Soko) missing, we needed guys to step up and everybody did when called upon, which is the ethos of our team.”
Get your tickets to support GB Men’s in FIBA World Cup 2023 Qualifying action against Belarus on 28 February at the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle here!
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