Opposition revealed for British teams as Olympic Draw announced
FIBA held the draw for the 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournaments in Rio De Janeiro on Monday as part of their Central Board meeting.
The draw saw both Team GB men's and women's basketball sides learn of their opposition for this summer's Olympic Games. The GB men were drawn in Group B with Spain, China, Brazil, Australia and Qualifier 3 while the women are set to face Australia, Brazil, Russia, Qualifier 3 and Qualifier 5 in London later this year.
In Group B, the GB men are faced with basketball powerhouses Spain who are currently ranked 2nd in the world as well as top ten ranked teams Australia (9th) and China (10th). At last year's London Prepares series GB defeated China 64-56 and came to within one point of defeating the Australian side. The GB side are still to put their best team on the court but this season with the in-form Pops Mensah-Bonsu returning along with NBA guard Ben Gordon, GB will be planning to improve on last year's performances.
The GB women have a very challenging group ahead with 2nd and 3rd world ranked sides Australia and Russia, who are also the 2011 EuroBasket winners, featuring in the line-up. The GB women are yet to play Australia but will go head-to-head with the side before the Olympics at a test match in Sheffield on 14th July 2012. When GB came up against Russia in EuroBasket finals 2011 they gave them a run for their money and lost by only three points, 62-59 in the dying seconds.
Both Team GB sides avoid the respective USA teams who top the world rankings for both men and women.
The remaining teams yet to qualify will be determined through the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments taking place in Caracas, Venezuela for the men (2-8 July) and Ankara, Turkey for the women (25 June-1 July).
British Basketball's Performance Director, Chris Spice commented on the draw: "There are no easy draws or games at the Olympics for teams that have not been at this table before. Preparation will be the key to our success and we must be diligent in leaving no stone unturned in getting the best out of our players for the next 88 days. During the Olympic tournaments there will be twists and turns and only the best prepared will survive to the end. We are really looking forward to giving our loyal fans and the British public something to remember."
GB men's head coach, Chris Finch commented on the challenge which lies ahead: "At this level, there are no easy groups and today's draw proved that every game at the Olympics will be really tough. The coaches and players have been waiting for this day for months, if not years. Now we can begin preparing for our opponents."
NBA and GB player Ben Gordon added: "There is no doubt this is a tough group. Now that we know who we are playing the players and coaches as well as all of our fans can sense the Olympics are just around the corner. I can't wait to get started."
The GB women's head coach, Tom Maher also discussed today's Olympic Draw outcome: "The Olympic Draw is quite a technical procedure, there are many aspects that effect how the draw is made. In my experience the draw has always been fair and transparent so I'm confident that we achieved an appropriate outcome. In the end you just have to win some games."
Great Britain's Preliminary Schedule
v Australia (28 July)
v Qualifier (30 July)
v Russia (1 August)
v Qualifier (3 August)
v Brazil (5 August)
v Qualifier (29 July)
v Brazil (31 July)
v Spain (2 August)
v Australia (4 August)
v China (6 August)