Overseeing the most successful FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign in National Team history, Head Coach Marc Steutel checked in ahead of GB’s final two games of the campaign to reflect on the Men’s programme’s progress over the last 18 months.
The National Team take to the court tonight against Belgium before travelling to Belgrade to face the Serbians on February 27th as Steutel and his staff conclude what has been a historic World Cup campaign, with GB reaching the second qualifying phase for the first time in their history.
“It absolutely has been a step in the right direction.” Steutel said.
“From my perspective, I’m somebody who wants to learn and develop all the time and I feel like I’ve done that throughout this campaign, as have the group. We’ve found a way to be really efficient in the windows and get the concepts across that we feel we need to, and the programme has progressed.
“The campaign has been successful. We’re disappointed to not have got more wins on the board, of course, and I do feel like the Greece win was a legitimate opportunity to try and progress in the competition. We did go further in this campaign than we’ve ever gone before, but to see GB at a World Cup is the aim and that’s where we want to get to.
“I’m not one for moral victories, I don’t sugar-coat things, but we’re doing everything we can to win – both today against Belgium and at every opportunity in the future. We’re doing the right thing for the programme and I’m excited to see how that comes together tonight, but we’re building for the future and it’s been a campaign that I’ll look back on fondly as we approach these final two games.”
Steutel’s 12-man roster for tonight’s game against Belgium is an incredibly exciting one as it sees four players earn their first-ever caps and five others compete in only their second or third windows for the team, with the Head Coach taking an invaluable opportunity to further the programme by giving game time to the next generation of talent at a very high level.
Reflecting on the week in camp in Newcastle with the roster and discussing his roster for tonight’s game, Steutel was positive about the progress made by the group in the build up to the Belgian clash.
“The thing that I’ve been most pleased with this week is the group’s intent to try and take on the concepts we believe we need to implement to be successful. It is a really exciting time for the Men’s programme, and being able to give an opportunity to these players only adds to that.
“We’re obviously bitterly disappointed that qualification for the World Cup is out of our reach, after reaching a point where we’d never been previously as a team, but this is an exciting opportunity to use high-level competitive matches to do the right thing for the programme.
“Make no bones about it, we’re trying to win tonight, but we’re also going to maximise the opportunity to do the right thing for the future of the programme, allowing these really talented younger guys to play through some experiences they need to have to put the programme in the right place for years to come.
“Camp has been extremely positive and I’m excited to see how we pull together on the floor tonight.”