|26 July 2013|
|"After the medical tests, it just simply isn't safe for me to put my body through that amount during the summer" - Luol Deng |
Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls and Joel Freeland of the Portland Trail Blazers are the big absentees from Great Britain's preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013, that was announced on Friday.
"Obviously we're disappointed that Luol's recovery from illness prevents him from playing," said newly-appointed head coach Joe Prunty.
"His health comes first and we wish him a full and speedy recovery."
Deng was hospitalised in June after contracting a viral infection that forced him to miss Chicago's last games in the NBA play-offs.
"It's one of those decisions that you have to use your head over your heart," the Bulls small forward explained.
"After the medical tests, it just simply isn't safe for me to put my body through that amount during the summer.
"It's tough to take. People know how much it means to me playing for Great Britain.
"I will of course be supporting the team and keeping up with their progress.
"It's not ideal but I'm confident that the guys can be successful at EuroBasket in Slovenia."
Freeland meanwhile will stay in the United States during the summer and follow a personal training program.
"It's a tough decision for me, because I have been with Great Britain for everything up to this moment," the Portland forward/center said.
"At this time, it's crucial that I remain with my NBA work, as it is a pretty pivotal part of my career."
|"At this time, it's crucial that I remain with my NBA work, as it is a pretty pivotal part of my career" - Joel Freeland |
Veterans Robert Archibald and Nate Reinking retired from international duty after the London Olympics and are consequently not included in the 17-strong preliminary squad.
Every other established British international player is on board however, including the likes of Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Daniel Clark and Andrew Sullivan.
Young point guard Devon Van Oostrum who turned heads recently at the U20 European Championship Division B and walked away with the tournament MVP award is also on the team.
"I'm excited to be working with both the veteran GB players and the new up-and-coming talent this summer," Prunty commented.
"Myself and my coaching team are ready for the challenge ahead and committed to getting the best out of the squad to make the GB family and fans proud."
Sullivan echoed his coach's sentiment: "This will be my seventh summer representing my country and I can honestly say I'm enjoying it just as much," the veteran said.
"Everyone in the squad understands the task at hand. We know it will be difficult but it's something we are all looking forward to."
Great Britain's training camp gets under way on Friday 2 August in London.
The Brits will play their first warm-up game against Puerto Rico on 11 August, also in the British capital.
Their preparation schedule concludes with two strong tests against reigning European champions Spain on 28 and 29 August, before departing for Slovenia for the big event.
Great Britain were drawn into First Round Group A at EuroBasket and will face Ukraine, Germany, France, Israel and Belgium in their bid to secure a top-three finish and qualify for the second phase of the tournament.
Great Britain preliminary squad: Kieron Achara, Ogo Adegboye, Eric Boateng, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Daniel Clark, Ashley Hamilton, Myles Hesson, Orlan Jackman, Kyle Johnson, Dzaflo Larkai, Andrew Lawrence, Alex Marcotullio, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Liam Potter, Justin Robinson, Andrew Sullivan and Devon Van Oostrum.