Great Britain Men’s guard Devon van Oostrum is excited about the challenges that lay ahead for coach Marc Steutel’s side.
GB face Serbia at Newcastle’s Vertu Motors Arena on Friday November 11 (7pm) before travelling to Riga to take on Latvia on Monday November 14 in a World Cup qualifying window that could be decisive in determining which teams progress out of Group I into next summer’s World Cup.
Van Oostrum is part of the initial 24-man roster chosen by Steutel and is eager to take on the task of toppling two of Europe’s best teams.
The 29-year-old floor general said: “We know we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us if we are to achieve qualification, but we’re excited to come together and take that on and get back to that GB identity and culture that we’d built over the years before EuroBasket.
“We still have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup, we know what we’re capable of and we’ve shown what we can do on the way to getting to this point in qualification, so we’ve just got to focus on getting back to those things when we come together for camp.
“When we played Latvia in August that was probably our best game of the summer against a full-strength team including their NBA players, so that shows what we can do and that we can mix it with the top teams. We’ve just got to focus on doing what we do best, maximise everything we can in camp and show everybody what we can do when we take to the floor in those two games.”
“I definitely look forward to that achievement.”
Should Van Oostrum be selected in the gameday rosters to take on both Serbia and Latvia, he will become the 14th player in GB Men’s history to secure his half-century of caps for the National Team.
DVO reflected on the journey to this point in his national team career, and how sharing his 48 caps so far with legends of the British game has made the achievement all the more special.
“If I’m honest, I never realised how close I was to that milestone nor that I’d played that many games because I’ve been away for so long until somebody mentioned it to me at EuroBasket. To be back now and on the verge of my 50th is a very rewarding feeling and I definitely look forward to that achievement and hope I can reach it at some point.
“There’s only a small amount of people that have hit that milestone and I’ve been on my journey with a lot of those guys, so to be able to share that road to 50 caps with them is very special and makes it even nicer to be on the verge of such an achievement to be honest.
“Having so many of us together here in London can only help GB.”
Van Oostrum is currently one of six Great Britain internationals who feature in Ryan Schmidt’s London Lions squad in the British Basketball League and 7DAYS EuroCup this season, with the guards and his quintet of GB teammates making history last month in securing the first British win in the EuroCup since 2004.
DVO detailed how much he is enjoying life in the capital and why he thinks the experience of having so many British players together in one team can only be good for the National Team.
“I’m very grateful to get to play for a team like the London Lions. Being in the 7DAYS EuroCup as part of a very competitive and serious British team is probably every player’s dream from this country, so I’m very fortunate to be in this position and grateful to have the opportunity.
“Being here with a lot of the Great Britain players and sharing this experience with them is really special, too, and for sure having so many of us together here in London can only help the National Team as well.
“We have to get everything we can out of our preparation time once we’re in camp so to have had the time to build a lot of chemistry with these players has been really helpful – particularly with Luke, who I hadn’t played with at all before EuroBasket – and is only going to be good for us.”
You can get your tickets for Great Britain’s showdown with Serbia at the Vertu Motors Arena on November 11th via the Newcastle Eagles Box Office now. Come and show your support for the team as they look to secure victory in FIBA World Cup 2023 Qualifying action.