GB U18’s European Championships Complete

GB Basketball

Scots compete for GB U18 squads in busy summer.

With what has been a very busy summer for British Basketball, the players have continued to fight and represent their country at the International Level. The GB U18 Men’s and Women’s teams both competed this summer, as documented by The Church of Hoops.

The Men’s squad travelled out to Latvia to compete in  Division A and the Women’s side made the journey to Austria to compete in the Division B of this years FIBA U18 European Championships.

Men’s story

The Men’s team had a hugely successful campaign. Featuring some of the hottest prospects in British Basketball such as Real Madrid star Kareem Queeley and Myerscough standout Mate Okros, this was a team stacked with talent 1 through to 12. Competing in the top tier, we were unsure on what to expect, with many claiming that even managing retention of Division A status a huge success.

GB finished third in their group defeating Montenegro but falling to a strong Lithuania and eventual champions Serbia. Out of the group, GB took on Finland in the Round of 16, claiming the W 77-73. Up next was eventual runners up, Latvia, falling 76-51. Posting some very strong performances and excellent wins, this is a sign of things to come from those involved.

The boys were clearly hungry for more as they obliterated the retention target and went on to claim the highest ever finish for a GB team. A 7th place finish, winning 70-68 over Montenegro in their final game solidified this squad in the history books.

GB Basketball
Credit: FIBA

The highest ever finish for this squad is something that British Basketball as a whole will recognise and appreciate as a huge success. But, we must also ensure that this is not the last year our teams can compete.

View the full stats here.

The Women’s story

Competing in Division B, promotion to Division A was something the team would be looking for. Opening the competition up with a 53-50 win over Austria, this led to wins, 83-62 over Denmark and 87-70 over Montenegro. But falling to Turkey and The Netherlands resulted in a third place finish.

Only the top two teams from each group and the two best 3rd place finishers qualified for the knock out rounds, GB were one place out. This meant facing Slovakia in the 9-16 qualification rounds, winning 73-62, but chances of promotion were over.

GB faced Greece in the 9-12 classification game, winning 67-60. Things were looking strong coming off two very important wins, to finish as high as was possible.

GB Basketball Alix Henderson
Credit: FIBA

Caledonia Pride player Alix Henderson dominated this years competition, posting 8 its, 3.8 rbs, 3.5 ast and 2 steals a game as well as an impressive 10 point 11 assist double-double. With strong performances, confidence was high going into the final game of the tournament, playing Romania for 9th place. The girls fought hard but fell, 56-45 finished 1oth place.

View the full stats here.

The Scots

Four Scot’s were representing with Alix Henderson joining Shawnisay Millar, both Caledonia Pride, in the Women’s team and ex-St Mirren duo Callan Low and Chris Feeney competing in the Men’s competition. With a Scottish quartette making it to such a high standard, this summer not being the first GB experience for some, we asked ourselves, is this setting the standard? Do we now need to be looking to increased that number?

Is this the start of a new era for Scottish Basketball? Most likely yes, it will also be a new era for British Basketball in general. But focusing on Scotland, some of our most decorated players are hanging up the kicks, meaning it is time for a new generation. Exciting times ahead for Scottish Basketball.

A sit down with: Callan Low

We sat down with GB and Myerscough star Callan Low after the tournament to catch his thoughts.

“It was a fantastic experience competing for GB in the European Championships Division A this summer.” Low told, “We finished 7th which is the highest ever ranking for a GB team so it was definitely a successful tournament for the team and the coaches.”

How does this achievement impact GB’s basketball reputation?

          “I think it proves that GB are more than capable to compete at the Division A level”

We discussed if this is important for Scottish basketball too,

“the fact that there was two Scots in the team shows how the sport has developed at youth level in Scotland.” Low is one of our many exports plying his craft down south, playing in Scotland all the way up until the end of his junior career. Showing that Scottish Basketball can get you somewhere.

“This season is an important one for me as my club team, Myerscough Academy, have been promoted to NBL Division 2. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and playing at a higher level. We were hugely successful last year so this year my aim is to keep improving my game, become better everyday and be the best player I can be. Hopefully in doing this, I can contribute to even more club success.”

Watch Callan’s highlight tape from The European Championships below: