|12 May 2014|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2015 2ND QR
|Johannah Leedham will not be available for this summer's Great Britain campaign |
Rookie head coach Peter Buckle could have his hands full in getting Great Britain to a third successive EuroBasket Women Final Round after being hit by a number of key absences, including star player Johannah Leedham.
Of the original 20 players identified on the preliminary roster, several high profile stars have dropped out due to a mix of both personal and medical reasons.
The most crushing loss will be that of 2013 FIBA Europe Player Of The Year nominee Leedham, who has revealed that she is to take a rest from international basketball this summer.
The Tango Bourges guard, who missed most of the EuroLeague Women Final Eight recently with an injury, inspired Great Britain to its best-ever performance at EuroBasket Women in France last year.
Last week, she became the first woman to lift the Syd Lypski Award which is presented by the British Basketball Journalists' Association and recognises the top British player in world basketball.
"I feel that I will benefit hugely from a break from international basketball for personal and professional reasons," explained Leedham.
"It is not a decision that I have taken lightly, and has been very difficult as I am very passionate about my sport and have always taken great pleasure and pride in playing for my country."
"I am hoping to make a return next year for EuroBasket [Women] 2015."
Meanwhile Buckle added, "Jo is an important part of the GB family and as such, we support her need to take care of her health and wellbeing.
"We certainly look forward to Jo returning to the GB programme fit and healthy in 2015."
Also unavailable for selection are fellow senior Chantelle Handy, rising youth star Cheridene Green, Georgia Jones and 2012 Olympian, Rose Anderson.
Despite the loss of Leedham and Handy in particular, Buckle remains positive as his team tip-off their preparations with a training camp in Worcester.
He said, "It is early days still, but we got off to a good start with our first session yesterday.
"There's a mix of new names and of course some recognisable faces in the more experienced senior group. I think we have a good blend of players, competition for places and even at this early stage, it's great to see the group come together cohesively on court.
"I'm looking forward to the upcoming test games which will give me further opportunities to see the team working together on court."
One new call up to the original list is 20 year-old Kathryn Rendell. The forward was born in Britain, but has been playing her basketball with Sydney Uni Flames in Australia.