It is his first time patrolling the touchline at the Vertu Motors Arena since being confirmed as the new Head Coach of the Newcastle Eagles, and that prospect has certainly added an extra layer of excitement for GB Men’s Assistant Coach Marc Steutel ahead of today’s clash with Turkey.
The home of the Eagles will be packed with over 2,300 people for Sunday’s final fixture of the FIBA World Cup 2023 first round qualifying, and Steutel discussed how much he is looking forward to the occasion of coaching in front of his new home crowd.
“I’m excited to have the first game there since it has been confirmed that next season I’ll have a few more games there! We know the challenge that faces us, an incredibly talented Turkish team that are strong in a lot of areas of the game.
“We were pleased with a lot of things after the Greece game, but there are a number of things we want to clean up and we’ll have an opportunity to do that today against Turkey. We know the importance of the result and carrying that into the second round of qualifying.
“I’ll be excited, as I always am, to represent Great Britain once again, but even more excited on this occasion to know that there are Eagles fans in the crowd and I feel like the national team has helped build that relationship I have with them a little bit, and I’m excited to play in front of them much more next season.”
“We showed some real promise in Larissa.”
A new-look roster for GB in this window has acquitted themselves very well so far, as an overall promising performance in Larissa against the mighty Greece revealed many positives for the team to build on going forward.
Steutel, who has been Acting Head Coach for the entirety of the qualifying campaign prior to this window, spoke of what has pleased him most during this window.
“You always want to have as many players available for selection, and we’ve been fortunate in the past to have had a consistent group, but the timing of this window has meant that circumstances – whether they be injuries, personal circumstances or children being born(!) – that has meant we’ve got a bit of a new-look roster.
“What is has done is tested how strong the programme is, and the players that have been in this window have done everything they can to maintain the great culture we have within the group, putting in good performances and showing real resilience.
“We don’t have the resources that other federations have, so I’ve been really proud of the way the players and the staff have conducted themselves this week and done the programme proud. We showed some real promise in Larissa and hopefully we can do more of that today.”
“If we compete in the right way it will set us up for the end of the summer.”
Following the conclusion of the Turkey game, attention turns straight to the Second Round of qualification for the FIBA World Cup – which GB have already qualified for – at the end of August, with EuroBasket to follow immediately after that.
There will be a capacity crowd in attendance for today’s game, and Steutel feels that if the team give a performance befitting of the occasion then it will set up the team perfectly for a huge summer.
“To have over 2,000 people there today, we just have to say thank you so much for that support we get from the British Basketball faithful. We’re always blown away by the support we have in the region, and we don’t take it for granted!
“We’re all aware of how big a summer we have ahead of us. The campaign to reach EuroBasket lasted a long time, so we’re excited for the end of the summer to test ourselves and compete, but we’ve got a job to do today first and we’ll do everything we can to win the game.
“Regardless of the outcome, if we compete the right way and play in the right way, it will set us up for the end of the summer. Everybody involved in the programme has felt this has been a long time coming, from the pre-qualifiers to now competing against these nations, we’re nothing but excited.”