Mensah-Bonsu: Gordon For Point Guard

01.03.2011

EuroBasket 2011

Luol Deng and Ben Gordon - Great Britain
Ben Gordon (right) can take some pressure off Luol Deng (left) and himself, says Pops Mensah-Bonsu

When most people think about the long-awaited arrival of London-born Ben Gordon to Great Britain's national team, they think about the three-pointers that will rain in Lithuania.

After all, Gordon has a reputation for being an explosive scorer in the NBA, particularly during his days as a teammate of fellow Brit Luol Deng with the Chicago Bulls.

But Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the British power forward/center who averaged more than 19 points and 13 rebounds last summer in his country's successful EuroBasket 2011 qualifying campaign, says Gordon can do something else.

Gordon, Mensah-Bonsu believes, can be a capable floor general.

"He can play the point guard position," Mensah-Bonsu told FIBA Europe.

"He's a scorer, he's a threat inside and outside.

"So we have somebody who opposing teams are going to have to focus on and that will take some of the pressure off of Luol (Deng) and myself."

Britain not only have the versatile Deng and big man Mensah-Bonsu, but also frontline players like Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald of Unicaja Malaga, and Dan Clark of Estudiantes.

Clark, in fact, is a 2.01m forward who could be a better pure shooter than Gordon.

7. Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Great Britain)
Mensah-Bonsu prefers to steer away from predictions, but he's convinced this Great Britain team have the potential to surprise everyone in Lithuania

He is coming into his own this season with an Estudiantes outfit that has already clinched a spot in the Eurocup quarter-finals, one that is on the verge of breaking into the top eight in the ACB.

Still, there is a general belief that Britain need an upgrade in the backcourt and that a healthy Gordon could do wonders for the team.

"You need a good point guard and all of ours are pretty young and still learning the game and how to play the position," Mensah-Bonsu said.

"It's tough when you're trying to learn and produce at the same time.

"So with Ben, we have a veteran who can put the ball in the basket and run a team at the same time. He definitely helps put us in a good position to get a good shot every time."

Great Britain will discover at the FIBA Central Board meeting in Lyon, March 12-13, if they are to be awarded a place in the Olympics as the host nation, or if they will have to qualify.

While Mensah-Bonsu and Britain would love to hear that they will be granted a place at the London Games, the players can only control their performances on the court.

It's going to be tough at the EuroBasket in Lithuania for Great Britain, where they will compete against Spain, Turkey, hosts Lithuania, Poland and additional qualifier.

Then again, it's going to be hard for the other 23 teams as well.

"I don't like to predict anything but as I said, I definitely feel like we're going to surprise people and we're going to do really well," Mensah-Bonsu said.

"I feel we have the ability, even with the team we had last year, but even more so with Ben on board to become that much better."


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