GBR - A new challenge awaits
They competed in front of packed arenas as hosts of the Olympic Games last summer.
Now, it´s back to the grind.
The Brits, who climbed 20 spots to 23rd in the FIBA Rankings after the Olympics, will have a real battle on their hands as they attempt to maintain their lofty position.
They will travel to the EuroBasket in Slovenia later this year looking to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
One important player moving forward is Olympian Dan Clark.
“It may not be as nice and pretty as it was in the six years in the build-up to the Olympics, but I think we can still do it,” the 2.08m power forward said to FIBA.com.
“Obviously, I think we have a very good team and a very young team at the same time,” he said.
There are questions to be answered when it comes to Great Britain.
The team recently received the guarantee of funding from UK Sport for another year, yet British Basketball has yet to appoint the coaches for both the men´s and women´s teams.
Who will take the reins?
Also, who will play?
“I think it´s a great opportunity for the rest of us to show that we are good players and we (Team GB) are good players and not just Luol Deng,” Clark said.
He admits that Deng was crucial for the team in many ways.
“Lu was a very important player, not only on the court but off the court,” Clark said.
“Just his demeanor, the way he acts, the way he practices, the way he carries himself is an example for everyone.
“He´s humble, keeps himself to himself, speaks when everyone needs speaking to. I think he´s a great character to have.”
Another NBA player in the British squad, Joel Freeland, could be a leader in the team.
He could have a point to prove this summer, too, after not receiving much playing time during his first NBA season with Portland.
“Everyone knows that Joel can play,” Clark said.
“He´s a great player. I think it would be good for him to play EuroBasket.
“He hasn’t played that many minutes this season, so it would allow him to get a run-out against some very high-level competition.
“It´s a different style of play to the NBA, but it´s still playing basketball, which he really hasn´t been able to do this year much unfortunately.”
Finding a coach
So where do Great Britain go to find a coach? They were led by American Chris Finch and his compatriot, assistant Nick Nurse, for several years but their time came to an end after the Olympics.
“We have to look at what´s coming up, what´s closest to us and that´s European basketball,” Clark said.
“There is a certain style in Europe that works and a certain style that doesn´t. The style that works is a European-based approach that has a lot of set-plays and not so much freedom, not so much one-on-one, but a team style.
“I think with the kind of players we´ll have this year, it will be a lot more useful to have a European coach and that´s nothing against any of the previous coaches we have had. I just think it would be better for the team.”
The opportunity is there for Britain to have a good EuroBasket.
Britain only beat China at the Olympics, yet they were very impressive at times.
“We can compete with anyone,” Clark said.
“Spain were the silver-medalists and we lost to them by a point.
“Brazil made the Quarter-Finals and we lost to them by four. That´s the way sport is sometimes.
“You win some, you lose some.
“It´s important that we take the positives out of the games, build on the strong points and go from there.”