Great Britain men’s head coach Tony Garbeletto is feeling confident after revealing his roster for this month’s FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifiers today.
With Great Britain currently at the bottom of qualifying group H, the 12-strong squad will challenge Israel and Greece in the hopes of making it to next year’s finals in China.
Garbelotto, who is also coaching the Scottish national side ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April, is hoping his squad will deliver improved performances this month after losing 95-92 to Greece and 73-70 to Estonia in the first qualifying round last November.
"We were pleased with how we competed in those first games in the last window, but we were obviously disappointed to have ended up dropping two games that we could have won," said the 49-year-old coach.
"Our main aim coming out of that opening window was to consolidate and strengthen in terms of our roster and I think we have now done that with the likes of Gabe [Olaseni] and Justin [Robinson] coming in. "Even with the disappointment of Myles [Hesson] missing out through injury, I feel very strongly that this is one of the better groups we have assembled since London 2012. "I'm excited, since I think that as a group, we have the capacity to really challenge Israel and Greece. We can't wait for the games to come."
Having played fantastically in the EuroBasket last year, centre Olaseni, who signed for Spanish side Fuenlabrada in August, returns to boost the team.
Ovie Soko, 26, who leads the team in terms of points, rebounds and efficiency, will be looking to continue his fine form and steer Great Britain to their first World Cup.
The final qualifying window falls in June, with clashes against Estonia and Israel in Glasgow. If Great Britain finish in the top three of their group, they will face six more ties to qualify for the finals in September 2019.
They will play Israel in Tel Aviv at midday on Friday February 23 before travelling to Heraklion to face Greece at 4pm on Sunday February 25.
The full roster is as follows: Kieron Achara, Eric Boateng, Dan Clark, Andrew Lawrence, Gareth Murray, Luke Nelson, Teddy Okereafor, Gabe Olaseni, Tarik Phillip, Justin Robinson, Will Saunders and Ovie Soko.