Marc Steutel says it will be ‘business as usual’ when he steps up to act as head coach for Great Britain’s FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers against Montenegro and Germany.
With Nate Reinking is unavailable trip to Podgorica on Friday and Mondau’s eagerly anticapted visit of Germany to Newcastle on Monday, assistant coach Steutel will now take the reigns.
Having started his coaching career with the Newcastle Eagles Academy before heading the North East’s regional junior teams and assisting with the BBL squad in 2009-10, he will be right at home for the game at the Eagles Community Atrena.
More recently he led Northumbria University to five national championships across NBL Division 1, National Cup, and British Universities Colleges Sports (BUCS), receiving three Basketball England Coach of the Year titles (2012, 2013, 2017).
He begins his second season with the GB Men’s national team having been an assistant coach with the squad since the beginning of the EuroBasket 2021 pre-qualifying campaign and says will provide continuity to Reinking’s positive start in the role.
“I’ve known that this move was on the cards for some time. The board was aware of Nate’s situation and I think it’s a good solution in terms of consistency and coherence. Every avenue was considered as it should be at this level. But I was mentally prepared to step up if required.
“As soon as I was told by the board that I would be leading the team it was business as usual. I’ve got a good relationship with the players and although there have been some changes to personnel, I don’t foresee any problems on that front.
“Nate is still the head coach. I’m simply leading during this window. I don’t have a particular title and I don’t really need one. That’s the situation. Nate and I talk a lot anyway, along with Jamie Smith, and that won’t suddenly change. As a coaching team we’ve been pulling the squad together for some time now. Nate made the final decision on the long squad but we’re all on the same page. He is the decision maker and I support his decisions 100%.
“Nate is a really considerate players’ coach and I like to think I operate in the same way. He told me that once we’re in camp it’s over to me. He’s there if I need him – of course he is – but that camp and those fixtures are my responsibility.
“I had three and a half/four weeks with Nate during the last window and so I know how he works. I guess he feels the same and so the decision to put me in this position during the latest window means there is a level of consistency that the players can relate to.
“Nate has said he’s there for me but I’ve never felt like it’s a case of being micro-managed. We conducted a thorough review together after the last window when we swapped ideas and looked at what needed to be done this time. Nate has 100% empowered me to follow that through.”
“I’m very happy with the squad. I think it’s a very talented group and reducing that initial 24-man squad to 14 and then 12 is not easy. We have a core of proven internationals from previous windows and a couple of fresh faces. It’s an exciting group with a huge amount of potential.”
“It’s funny how things work out. I think it was 2009 when I was third assistant for the England Under-16s. To go from there to where I am now – on the brink of coaching the senior men’s national team in my home town – is incredible. Every time I’ve been invited to join the coaching staff on a national team I’ve felt incredibly proud and privileged and I’ve always made time for my country. When I got the chance to assist the senior men’s team I was ecstatic. Now to get the chance to lead out my country in Newcastle is something that I’ll look back on with pride for many years to come.
“I remember being in the crowd at Sport Central for the 2010 international when Luol Deng scored to take the match into overtime. That was a fantastic atmosphere and I fully expect it to be the same again. I was sat in the stands that day and now I’ll be stood courtside and experiencing everything from a very different perspective.
“It’s fantastic for Newcastle to stage an international basketball match again. The city has a proud reputation for hosting international rugby and St James’s Park was one of the London 2012 venues.
“It’s great to see basketball adding to that legacy. Credit to the city for being as welcoming and accessible as it is and I think advance ticket sales for this game prove that the people of the North East have a real appetite for world class sport. This will be a chance for those people to see some of the best emerging British basketball players who ply their trade outside of the BBL and we have a pool of very exciting talent.”
“Germany are a very disciplined, well organised and well structured team. They have a very striong squad with top class players operating all over Europe as well as at the top level back home.
“They’re a very physical team and place a strong emphasis on defence. They trust each other implicitly and are a very dangerous basketball nation ranked inside the world’s top 20. We’ve done plenty of advance work on their squad and we’ll be analysing footage of the their performance against France in some detail before we tip off in Newcastle.”