Sullivan Still Passionate About GB Cause

15 August 2006

Two weekend defeats - one of them heavy - have not dampened Andrew Sullivan's enthusiasm for the Great Britain programme.

Named captain by coach Chris Finch, Sullivan endured a frustrating time against both Finland and Estonia, who had clearly done their homework on the British Basketball League's Player of the Year and Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner.

Andrew Betts (DKV Joventut Badalona)
Sullivan is looking forward to teamming up with big man Andrew Betts.
Sullivan, nicknamed 'Slim' by his Newcastle team-mates, is looking for the help that is expected to arrive in the form of center Andy Betts and forward Chris Haslam before the team travels to the next training camp in Belgium.

"Andy's an experienced post player - he can score so he can just hold the ball and give passes," said Sullivan.

"I put him in the same class as Robert Archibald. I've never played with Robert but he's a tremendous player."

Archibald will probably join next summer, when Great Britain play their return games against Albania, Slovakia, Belarus and Holland in the EuroBasket qualifiers.

Sullivan's total weekend haul of 19 points was a far cry from the 35 he notched against Portugal for England last summer, but his mobility was affected by a nagging calf strain.

"It's nothing big - just an injury I had and then got it knocked," he says.

"From a personal point of view it just stops me getting back to the way I play in practice."

Sullivan is well aware of the responsibility that comes with captaincy.

"Chris (Finch) and I have a good rapport and he's been first class since he came to the GB programme," he says. "You can't lead from the front when you're sitting on the sidelines. I'll get assists or shots for the guys but I want them to understand that when we need a basket I'm the one that can do it."

Despite the defeats, 64-72 to Estonia and 69-95 to Finland, Sullivan sees improvement in a programme that lay dormant for 14 years after failing to qualify for the 1992 Olympics.

"Between the two games we made big steps but there's still steps to be made," he said.

"We're starting to get to know each other. We've got some great  players - like Steve Hansel - but I haven't played with him for so long.

"Certainly I'd rather have guys trying to make a play rather than have guys that you have to carry on your backs. But we have to do a better job on our offensive set plays."

BBL fans will not be seeing Sullivan when the season starts in September, if the two-year Newcastle Eagle has his way.

"I'm looking at Italy or Spain," he says.

"I want to go somewhere where they appreciate that I'm not just about putting the ball in the basket."

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