|Damian Jennings: "We have been able to select a real blend of experience and youthful talent."|
Recently appointed Great Britain head coach Damian Jennings is ready to write a new chapter in the short but roller-coaster basketball history of his nation, after naming a youthful 20-strong list of contenders for his inaugural senior tournament.
The line-up for the pre-EuroBasket Women camp retains some of the 2012 Olympic squad, but also welcomes some fresh young talent, all of whom will gather for the first time since London, at a forthcoming preparation gathering at Surrey Sports Park.
Five of Great Britain's best youth players have been selected for the first time, specifically with an eye up to 2020. They include Ella Clark, Renee Busch, Christina Gaskin and 1995-born duo Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby and Cheridene Green, the latter particularly impressive last summer at both the U18 European Championship Women Division B and U20 European Championship Women.
In another first, two of these players, Clark and Gaskin, are graduates from the Regional Institute of Basketball at Barking Abbey and are among the seven ‘future aged' players named in the squad.
Blooding such a wealth of younger players couldn't be better timed with new play-caller Jennings having stepped up from his role as head coach of the U20 women's team having succeeded former boss Tom Maher.
Johannah Leedham, who shone during the London Games, has once again been selected in the preliminary squad. During the Olympic campaign, Leedham was joint top in points per game with an 16.2 average earning her nomination for 'British Basketball's Athlete of the Year'.
She recently helped Bourges secure third place at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight with some impressive offensive rebounding. Great Britain hope she can put her WNBA dreams on hold to help fight at EuroBasket Women and make the second phase once again.
Veteran forward Kimberly Butler also returns and Great Britain will have plenty of experience in the paint with Chantelle Handy also included and she comes into the summer off the back of her best pro-season having excelled with Mersin in the Turkish League as her team grabbed a super third place.
The squad will assemble on 4 May 2013 to commence their preparations for the summer ahead where they face a tough EuroBasket Women challenge against Olympic silver medallists, France, Serbia and Latvia for their first round games at the tournament.
Head coach Jennings commented on his selection: "The EuroBasket Women creates a great test for us post Olympics and we have been able to select a real blend of experience and youthful talent.
"With the early timing of EuroBasket Women there will always be challenges but all the GB performance staff are looking forward to working with the selected squad and preparing for this great summer ahead."
The full roster is as follows: Dominique Allen (MECC. NOVA Bologna), Rose Anderson (Cercle Sainte Paul Rezé Basket), Renee Busch (University of Penn), Kimberly Butler (SK Cesis), Ella Clark (Long Beach State University), Stefanie Collins (Cardiff Archers), Temitope Fagbenle (Harvard University), Stephanie Gandy (Sheffield Hatters), Christina Gaskin (Fordham University), Cheridene Green (Sevenoaks Suns), Chantelle Handy (Mersin), Georgia Jones (Cluj Napoca), Johannah Leedham (Bourges), Roz Mason (Barking Abbey), Erin McGarrachan (University of Texas), Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby (Loughborough Student Riders), Kristie Shiels (Calgary University), Azania Stewart (PINKK-PECSI 424), Lauren Thomas-Johnson (Sheffield Hatters), Rachael Vanderwal ( University of Limerick).