He’s one of three players on the roster that was facing the prospect of a senior Men’s National Team debut this week in FIBA World Cup 2023 qualifying, and with Patrick Whelan and Jaiden Delaire making senior bows in Thursday’s action against Greece, Callum Lawson is looking forward to the prospect of potentially making it three from three for debutants against Turkey on Sunday.
The 26-year-old, who is a back-to-back champion in the Icelandic league, has impressed in training camp for the two crucial qualifiers against Greece and Turkey and we caught up with the young forward ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Turks (4pm) at the Vertu Motors Arena.
“This week we’ve had two really big games to look forward to and, for me, just being a part of this group, practicing with and learning from my teammates and the coaching staff has been really important in terms of learning different aspects and perspectives on the game.”
A somewhat new-look GB side put together numerous strong spells throughout the game against Greece in Larissa on Thursday, but producing a consistent 40-minute performance is something Head Coach Nate Reinking spoke about post-match as a focus area for the team going forward.
Lawson reflected on the game from his perspective and concurred that there were plenty of positives for the team to take from the game.
“Our first half was really good, and we had some ok spells in the second half, but their experience showed in the third quarter and they made some big shots when they needed to, which we didn’t quite have a way of bouncing back against at the time, but we showed great fight throughout the game.”
Lawson didn’t take to the floor himself on Thursday, instead supporting the team vociferously from the bench throughout the encounter, but the 26-year-old detailed how he is willing to wait for his opportunity.
“This is my first experience making the roster of 12 and I just want to do whatever I can to help the team. I’m, of course, available and wanting to play, but if I’m not going to play then I’m still going to do whatever I can to help the team from the sidelines.”
Sunday’s game at the Vertu Motors Arena has long since been sold out, as the GB faithful are set to pack out the home of the Newcastle Eagles once more, and Lawson is looking forward to sampling the atmosphere against Turkey.
“I’m excited to hear the home fans and their support. A lot of good things have been said about the Newcastle fans by the guys and on social media so I’m looking forward to feeling that home support on Sunday. You always want to play against the best teams and take on that challenge so I’m looking forward to seeing what Turkey bring to the floor on Sunday and battling them.”
You can catch GB in action against Turkey at 4pm BST on Sunday 3 July, live on FIBA’s streaming service, Courtside 1891.