It has been over a year since GB talisman Myles Hesson last suited-up in national team’s colours – but the 32-year-old is back in Nate Reinking’s 24-man squad for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers against Greece and Turkey and eager to go to battle.
“It has been a while so I am very excited to get back out there with the team,” Hesson said.
“I wasn’t able to join up with the team for the last few windows, but the team did well without me and it was good to see how they performed.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the new faces we’ve got coming into camp, but also to just seeing everybody again and getting to work really. We’re a very close group, even though some of us haven’t been together for a while we’re always in contact and we enjoy being able to get together so much.
“I can’t wait to get back out there and go to battle with the team. I’m ready to help in any way I can and make sure that we can all perform to our highest level.
‘We’re always considered the underdogs and we thrive on that’
GB will travel to Larissa to face Greece on Thursday 30 June, before returning to Newcastle to face Turkey on Sunday 3 July (4pm) at the Vertu Motors Arena – two enormous challenges against some of Europe’s most historic heavyweights in the game.
Both opposing squads will be littered with talent of the highest calibre, with Turkey already having announced a slew of NBA players as part of their roster, but Hesson contests that GB being looked at as the underdogs for both fixtures is exactly what the team wants and the group relish that label.
“I love it, we all enjoy those occasions and it is what we live for, to play in such a historic basketball country with passionate in a hostile environment and having the chance to show what we can do – we couldn’t ask for more, really,” he added.
“We’re always considered the underdogs but we thrive on that and love playing against such big teams with real talent. Bringing the team back to Newcastle for the second game, it has been great to have what you could call a home for the team there over the last couple of years, and the fans that come to the games are just incredible.
“They create such a great atmosphere, we’ve got two wins from two there and we’ll do everything we can to make it three from three.”
‘I’ve enjoyed the 3×3 experiences I’ve had so far’
Of course, Hesson has had little chance for rest so far this summer as he’s come straight off the back of a busy domestic season to join Team England in preparations for the 3×3 competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Having competed for GB in the small-sided version of the game as well, the 5v5 veteran discussed how much he’s taken from 3×3 and the benefits he expects that version of the game can have for his exploits in conventional basketball both in this window and later in the summer ahead of EuroBasket.
“It is a great chance to start a very busy summer in the right way, really. Between the 3×3 at the Commonwealth Games, the next window for World Cup Qualifiers in August and then EuroBasket in September, we’ve got a lot going on but this is what we want as a team to be competing on the biggest stages.
“I’ve enjoyed the 3×3 experiences I’ve had so far, for sure, and it has taught me a few things and tricks that I’ve never seen in 5v5 so I’m excited for the opportunity to see if I can bring those ideas into the 5v5 game.
“You’ve got to be really crafty in 3×3 to win and the best teams in the world are really good at getting open shots from little tricks and movements that they do, and I’ve tried to pick those up over the last few weeks so I can bring it back to the 5v5 game.”