After almost a decade of competing at the elite level of senior men’s international basketball, Great Britain guard Ben Mockford has announced his national team retirement.
The 55-cap veteran ranks eighth all-time in caps for the men’s team and will leave big sneakers to fill in his wake as the 33-year-old sharpshooter brought a grit and toughness to GB that set the tone for others.
|Men’s Player||Total Caps|
|Ogo Adegboye, Teddy Okereafor, Gabe Olaseni||53|
“For me this feels like the right time,” Mockford said.
“We’re coming to the end of a cycle for a core group of players that have been in the team for many years, and it is time for the next generation to come through, gain some experience at this level and make their mark on the team.
“It wasn’t too difficult a decision for me. I’m obviously very passionate about GB and will miss putting on the jersey, but it is definitely the right time and I’m at peace with that. There’s a huge amount of pride and passion that I’ve always felt for this team.
“I’m very happy with how national team career has developed. I’ve filled every possible role for GB, whether that’s on the bench waving the towel or starting and making big shots, so I’m immensely proud of what I’ve achieved and thankful to have been a part of it.”
Mockford made his debut back in 2014 when current Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Joe Prunty was at the helm for Great Britain and made an instant impact away to Bosnia & Herzegovina with 19 points early in his international career – including a slick five makes from eight attempts beyond the arc.
The attributes that saw Mockford stand out back then as a tenacious go-getter have stayed with him throughout a career that has seen him feature at two EuroBaskets for GB and form part of a core group of players that secured a memorable run of victories in recent years against France, Germany, Montenegro and Greece.
“I was very excited for my first call-up by Coach [Joe] Prunty back in 2014,” Mockford detailed, reflecting on his GB journey.
“I’ve been honoured to be part of the team since then, playing in two EuroBaskets with the team.
“As far as other highlights, the game in Bosnia in 2014 was very special and I had a big game there. The stretch we had to qualify for EuroBasket 2022 with huge results against Germany, France and Montenegro was very memorable, and just every day I’ve spent with these players has been special – I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world.
“My identity for the team has always been to bring that toughness to the floor, but I just want to be remembered as a teammate who did whatever the team needed from me for Great Britain to get the win.”
The last two windows of his national team career in November 2022 and February 2023 have allowed Mockford the opportunity to witness and nurture the next generation of elite talent filtering its way through to the senior team.
In those windows Quinn Ellis, Michael Belle, Amin Adamu, Josh Sharma, Aaron Menzies, Kimbal Mackenzie and Jelani Watson-Gayle have all made debuts, and Mockford spoke glowingly about the potential of the players coming through the ranks and his excitement to continue to watch their development from afar.
“We have an incredible group of young players coming through and it is their time now to take over the team and build their core as we did many years ago. I’ve enjoyed being able to share some of my experience and knowledge of what it takes to be successful at this level with them and I’m excited to see what they can achieve.
“The sky is the limit for them, I feel. We have a great group coming through but it is going to take some time for them to build consistency and chemistry with each other and develop that understanding of what it takes to win at such a high level, but they have the talent.
“Once they get the experience and the miles under their legs at this level, we’re going to see what they can really do.”
You can watch our extended interview with Ben below as he discusses his decision to retire and his career in more depth. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ben for his fantastic contribution over the last nine years and we look forward to seeing how his career continues to develop both on and off the court in the future. Thank you, B-Mock!