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Team GB review: Sullivan impressed with team progress

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Team GB review: Sullivan impressed with team progress

The Great Britain team is now set for the Olympics and Captain Drew Sullivan remains satisfied with the progress of the squad leading into London 2012.

The Great Britain team is now set for the Olympics and Captain Drew Sullivan remains satisfied with the progress of the squad leading into London 2012.

Team GB recently completed a set of games against Nigeria, Russia and Lithuania who are all competing in the final qualifiers for the London Games in the next few days.

The national side were winless in the States throughout five games and were missing NBA talent in Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.

Gordon failed to report for camp as he recently signed a new contract with the Charlotte Bobcats, therefore ruling him out of the Olympics. Deng was present at camp but he remained sidelined resting a wrist injury.

Despite this, Sullivan is focusing on the positive team morale that has been built on and off the court.

“We are quite confident in the group we have, we all know each other and there is a good chemistry,” he said.

Sullivan added:  “Ben is a good player but the dynamic of the team is set and it’s worked well for us.  For now, we have to continue and push on from here.”

However, Sullivan has noticed a lot of negative comments around Gordon’s no-show and feels that the comments are unjust.

“The fact is that he has not been with us from the start and we have done well without him and we need to just continue that. There have been comments about NBA quality guards dropping 40 points on us game after game, but that has never happened in the six years I have been on the team,” he said.“I don’t think the addition or subtraction of players like Ben Gordon would make a difference. The fact is our guards on the team have done an extremely good job and I can’t think of any guard in the top leagues that has hit us with big numbers.”

In the first game of the camp, Great Britain faced Nigeria. The game went into overtime and Nigeria hit a three in the closing seconds to achieve an 86-80 victory.

Sullivan said that this particular game was all about experimenting with different combinations of players to find the best possible options.

“Coach Finch was taking a look at the young guys and different combinations of line ups. It was a good test for us. We learnt a lot about ourselves and what we needed to improve on to give ourselves the best chance of being successful. “

Team GB fell short again in their next match with Lithuania losing by two points but the team that caused considerable damage were the Russians. They won by high margins in both games respectively and Sullivan complimented there all round game.

“They are very tall, athletic and they have got good shooting range. They play and move the ball around extremely quickly. If I was a betting man, this is the team I would put my money on to get through the qualifiers and the team will be seeing again in London.”

Sullivan has been impressed with the work of forwards Dan Clark and Joel Freeland but stresses that success will come through the whole team pulling together.

“They are playing at an extremely high level and with the exception of Luol our offence runs through those guys. They have been doing a good job putting points on the board as well as getting other team members involved. It is not going to be one player that wins games, it is going to be a combination of players.”

The team now look to face Eurobasket finalists France and Spain over the weekend before meeting Portugal in Sheffield for a double header. They then face reigning Olympic Champions, USA, in Manchester featuring the NBA MVP Lebron James and other top NBA stars.

Sullivan dismisses that there will be no easy games from here not just for them but for their opposition as well.

He said: “we know like every other team we have to come and play hard in every game. There are no games in international basketball where you can be sluggish and under perform expecting to win. That is a recipe for disaster so we are not going to take any games lightly regardless of who we are playing.”

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