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GBR – Brits name 24-strong preliminary squad for EuroBasket

LONDON (EuroBasket 2009) – Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls is in Great Britain’s 24-man preliminary squad for the EuroBasket that has been announced national team coach Chris Finch.

The London-born Gordon has lived in America for virtually all of his life but still has family in Britain and has spoken frequently of his desire to represent Britain.

His Bulls teammate Luol Deng, and Toronto Raptors center Pops Mensah-Bonsu, are also in the preliminary group.

Deng hasn't played for the Bulls since February 28 because of a minor stress fracture in his leg. While the EuroBasket isn’t played until September, there are concerns about his availability for the event.

"The main thing with Luol is to remain positive,” Finch said. “Injuries are part of the profession and unfortunately he seems to be in a run at the moment, which can happen.

"The key is to keep positive and to do what you need to do. I'm very proud of everything Luol does and we understand he has a professional career first and foremost. We are fortunate to have a great relationship with Chicago and are not going to do anything to harm it.

"There's not a lot we can do now but support him. We know how important GB is to Luol and how much he enjoys it."

Andrew Sullivan, one of the Great Britain veterans, believes the squad is as deep as it has ever been and he admits that he is going to have to earn his spot on the roster.

"I have said that if I don't make it to the Europeans this year, or the Olympics in 2012, because someone else is better than me, then the country is going in the right direction,” said Sullivan, who is currently without a club after CSK VVS Samara trimmed their squad for financial reasons.

"It shouldn't be an easy ride for anyone. The last thing I want is to be 35 and Chris phoning me and persuading me to play for one more year. I would like to know I can retire and there will be players there to replace me straight away."

In the Final Round of the EuroBasket in Poland, the Brits will take on Serbia, Slovenia and world champions Spain in Group C.

Great Britain’s preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2009:
Kieron Achara (Fortitudo, ITA)
Rob Archibald (Unicaja, ESP)
Andy Betts (Aris Thesaloniki, GRE)
Eric Boateng (Arizona State, USA)
Flinder Boyd (Leicester Riders, GBR)
Matthew Bryan-Amaning (University of Washington, USA)
Dan Clark (Estudiantes, ESP)
Daryl Corletto (Melbourne Tigers, AUS)
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls, USA)
Germayne Forbes (Nyon, SWI)
Joel Freeland (Gran Canaria, ESP)
Nick George (Gravelines Dunkerque, FRA)
Ben Gordon (Chicago Bulls, USA)
Randall Hanke (Providence, USA)
Jarrett Hart (Keravnos, CYP)
Dzaflo Larkai (L'Hospitalet, ESP)
Mike Lenzly (Harem Scafati, ITA)
Steve Leven (West Brabant-Giants NED)
Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Toronto Raptors, USA)
Richard Midgley (Everton Tigers, GBR)
Nate Reinking (Mons Hainaut, BEL)
Justin Robinson (Rider University, USA)
Andrew Sullivan (no club)
Tafari Toney (Newcastle Eagles, GBR)