The Great Britain Under-16 Men’s and Women’s coaches have given their reactions to their teams’ recent FIBA European Championship performances.
The teams made first outings to the since before the pandemic in the Men’s and Women’s ‘B’ Divisions respectively.
Troy Culley’s Men’s side battled the likes of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Norway, Portugal and Sweden in pool action, finishing with a 4-3 record at the end of the Championships in Bulgaria, with wins over Georgia, Ukraine, Portugal and Norway to their name, placing ninth overall.
The Women’s side, led by Scotland’s Donnie MacDonald, ended the competition with a 3-4 record and – like their U18 counterparts earlier in the summer – secured an 11th-placed finish overall after winning a tight encounter with Iceland in the 11/12 classification game.
GB U16 men’s Coach Culley said:
“Just like we mentioned before the campaign, we knew it was going to be a steep learning curve and that due to limited preparation that the team would improve as the tournament progressed and I feel like that happened.”
“To have four teams come out of Group C to finish in the top ten highlighted how competitive our group was. It also highlights how close those defeats against Sweden and Bosnia were. I think if we were to play those games again, the results would be a lot different with the experience our players gained from the seven games.
“I’m incredibly happy and proud of how our players conducted and handled themselves over the course of the European Championships. I think it was very educational for myself as a coach, my staff, and the players that we worked with and we certainly took a big step forward in reigniting that fire coming off the back of two years with no European Championships to really enable these players to reengage with the national team programme and feel that sense of pride pulling on the GB jersey.”
GB U16 Women’s Head Coach MacDonald said:
“The GB U16 women’s programme was a great experience with some very special people. Our team was very young and had no tournament experience, but the commitment and team spirit they demonstrated was outstanding.
“Our preparation games against Serbia opened the eyes of our players to what top level international basketball is and as we went through the tournament, it was fantastic to see the players taking the learning from each game and progressing certain aspects of their play.
“Losing on the buzzer to Luxembourg in the group stage was a tough moment, but ultimately didn’t change our position in the group and that experience probably helped us when we got to the final game against Iceland and were able to hold onto our lead in a very tight game. I have nothing but praise for the players and staff who all gave everything to the programme and represented the GB jersey with pride.”