Great Britain's Achara excited by World Cup format
GLASGOW (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) - Kieron Achara hopes Great Britain can build upon their performances this past summer ahead of the upcoming World Cup European Qualifiers.
The 2012 Olympian and FIBA TIME OUT participant captained his country at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 and is looking forward to the start of the new-look international windows.
"It's always a special feeling playing for GB and the new format is exciting," Achara declared. "Having competitive games in your own country is great and I think it's great for basketball in general. For us, it's a good chance to really build the fan-base because home support is critical."
Great Britain open Group H against Greece in Leicester on Game Day 1 and face three road trips before rounding out their campaign with back-to-back home games at Glasgow's Emirates Arena next summer.
It starts a new era under Tony Garbelotto with the veteran play-caller taking over the coaching reigns from Joe Prunty - who departed in the summer after four years at the helm.
"HAVING COMPETITIVE GAMES IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY IS GREAT AND I THINK IT'S GREAT FOR BASKETBALL IN GENERAL." Achara
Achara - who also plays under Garbelotto at Glasgow Rocks in the British Basketball League (BBL) - is confident he is the right man to take GB forward.
"Tony brings a whole new level of passion," he said. "He is very passionate about the development of British Basketball and has a lot of charisma. I believe he will make sure we stay competitive."
Despite finishing 0-5 in Istanbul at FIBA EuroBasket 2017, there was reason for optimism with some inspired displays including a surging late comeback against Latvia.
The challenge will be to turn those performances into results and learning from the experience.
"We played some very good basketball," Achara reflected. "We had a chance to look back and they were some of our best performances at a EuroBasket. We were in a really strong Group, and results didn't go our way, but there were lots of positives to take from it."
"It's a completely different mindset of understanding the standards of the top European level. Kofi Josephs [team-mate at Glasgow Rocks] didn't play a single minute at the tournament, but learnt so much from being there. We have quite a few guys playing in the ACB and having that big-game experience will help development. It's important to keep that competitiveness - we have to believe and stay with it."
Greece, Estonia and Israel provide the latest opposition for Great Britain, but Achara insists their sole focus will be on what they control and coming together as a team.
"We have to focus on ourselves and not think too much about our opponents," he said. "The key is finding a way to build our chemistry really quickly. We know that if we play our best basketball, we have a strong chance of getting to the next stage."