Bringing a storied FIBA World Cup 2023 First Qualifying Round campaign to a close, the Great Britain Men’s National Team take on the European heavyweights, Turkey, today in front of a capacity crowd at Newcastle’s Vertu Motors Arena (4pm).
111-cap captain Dan Clark sat down with us to look ahead to the game.
“We’re excited for the challenge against Turkey.” He said.
“Every time you get to represent GB it is extremely important and extremely special, especially when you get to go up against players of the calibre that Turkey can call upon.
“It is going to be a very difficult game, but we’re raring to go with the added motivation of losing on Thursday against Greece. We want to put on a good show, especially here at Newcastle where the fans and the Eagles have been so good to us over the years, so we owe them another good show.
“For years and years we were used to playing in London, but it is great that different parts of the country get to experience elite level basketball. The BBL is growing stronger and stronger, but the stronger the national team gets, the better basketball in the country will be, so to showcase our team and what we’re doing to different parts of the country is something to be very excited about.”
“It is great to see we’re developing the strength in depth.”
This week has seen a number of new faces and new looks for GB take to the court, as both Patrick Whelan and Jaiden Delaire made their debuts in Thursday’s game against Greece – with Callum Lawson also in the roster for both that game and today’s clash, and looking to make it three debuts in this window.
We also saw on Thursday a number of new-look units take to the floor for GB, and the team working on some new concepts under the leadership of the returning Head Coach Nate Reinking. Clark reflected on the progress made throughout the week.
“It has been a different week for us with a lot of new faces in and around the team, and also being coached by Nate for the first time in a while who has come back from the NBA with some new ideas which we’ve had to get used to and adjust to, but it has been very positive overall I think.
“We’ve welcomed a lot of younger, newer guys into the family and been able to pass on some of our knowledge and experience to them and, although it is difficult to bond in such a short period of time, we’ve done a good job of bringing everybody together.
“We had a few minutes in the game on Thursday where the game really got away from us, but other than that there were positives and good performances to reflect on, and it is great to see we’re developing the strength in depth we need for the future.”
“The team benefits massively from having such experienced guys around.”
Whilst this window has been an opportunity to introduce some new faces and concepts to the team, the experience of the veterans in the squad has been vital in enabling such progress to be made, and the 33-year-old Clark discussed how much he has embraced the opportunity – alongside fellow senior players – to induct some new players into the GB way of playing.
“I thoroughly enjoy it and the role of captain is one I carry with great pride and responsibility. It has been an interesting week trying to get everybody on the same page and up to speed in such a short space of time, working together to get the best out of this talented group.
“With Myles (Hesson) and Gabe (Olaseni) around, it makes it a bit easier for us to build that cohesion and integrate these new players more quickly, because they’re extremely experienced. Myles has obviously been captain when I’ve not been around, and I feel we work really well together in that sense.
“The team benefits massively from having such experienced guys around, and for us to be able to pass on that knowledge and everything that we have built up over the years in this team, it is great for the young guys and it helps them develop for the future as well.”
You can catch GB in action against Turkey at 4pm BST on Sunday 3 July, live on FIBA’s streaming service, Courtside 1891.