One of the most exciting young talents in the British game over the years, 24-year-old Savannah Wilkinson is on the plane to her first-ever EuroBasket competition as part of Chema Buceta’s 12-player roster for this summer’s tournament.
After impressing in training camp over the past few weeks, Wilkinson has earned her place on a star-studded roster of elite talent whose performances have trended positively throughout the preparations, and the Londoner is as excited to be a part of the team as she is to see the group realise their potential on the biggest stage in Slovenia this week.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it or heard it being said that this is such a talented group or that there’s so much quality on this team, but there really is and as soon as we come together, it’s going to be explosive and I’m really excited to bring that to EuroBasket.
“We’re here to show what we can do and that we can compete with the best teams in the world. We’re not going to Slovenia for anything other than to win, and we’ve all come with the right mindset to take on the challenge.
“Camp has gone really fast – people don’t realize how quickly it goes, with how many practices and meetings and film sessions we have. There has been a lot adapting and getting used to each other, but it has been so much fun.”
Wilkinson has experienced both sides of training camp, being successful this time in securing a place at EuroBasket, and also four years ago when she came close to featuring in the 2019 tournament where GB famously secured their best-ever result of fourth in the competition.
The 24-year-old, whose maturity on and off the court shines through as one of her key qualities, reflected on that experience four years ago and how it has helped her progression as a person and an athlete over the intervening years.
“Not being able to be part of EuroBasket last time GB were competing there was obviously difficult, having been cut [after attending training camp].
“Chema and I spoke about it and discussed that being away for the qualification windows was a factor in his decision and, although that was tough, I am very grateful to be at this point now, in a squad that is very capable of competing with the best teams at the competition.
“It’s really exciting to be on this team playing under Chema and part of such a talented squad. We’ve got so much firepower and I feel like we can show Europe and the world that we’re here to win. I’m honoured – putting a GB jersey on again, singing the national anthem … it was all surreal. It’s super exciting and I wouldn’t change any of the journey for the world.”
No stranger to success – both personally and collectively – for GB at European Championships, Wilkinson shared insight about the moments after she informed her parents of her selection for the team, with her father immediately jumping on the computer in a bid to continue his streak of watching Wilkinson at every one of her European Championship appearances.
“My dad is like booking flights to Slovenia as we speak! He’s been to every single one of my European Championships. When I’ve made all-star fives, he’s been there, and when we won a silver medal when I was 16. He’s super excited to come out and be able to support.
“My mum is just super proud. They know how hard it was for me last time to miss out and I think we’ve all kind of been on the edge of our seats just waiting for this day when I would finally make it.
“As soon as I spoke to them, my mum let out a big breath and now she can relax, and she said to me that I can just play now and be myself. It was really nice to make them proud and also nice to tick that box of having been involved in a EuroBasket, because we’ve all waited for it.”
Further information on where you can tune in to watch Great Britain in action at Women’s EuroBasket 2023 will be shared in due course.