Olympics Basketball 2012: Great Britain Roundtable


The 2012 Summer Olympic games have finally begun! While a few of the games are underway, the British men’s national basketball team will play their first Olympic game on Sunday. Before the first game kicks off, Pippen Ain’t Easy’s Team Britain division, Ashley Wijangco and Joshua Santos give their final thoughts, input and predictions on how well the British team will do in this year’s olympics.

Who are the key players for Great Britain?

Ashley Wijangco: The key players for Great Britain are Luol Deng and Pops Mensa-Bonsu. They are clearly the team’s best players.

Joshua Santos: While Luol Deng and Pops Mensa-Bonsu are obviously going to be key players, I believe Andrew Sullivan will have the same, if not more impact as the two mentioned above. In a recent exhibition game against the American team, Sullivan scored 11 points, 3assists & shot 3 for 3 behind the 3-point arch. He’ll help a lot in the backcourt.

How well will Great Britain do in the Olympics?

Ashley: The chances of Great Britain doing well are very slim. They are ranked 43 in the world and would not be in the Olympics if they were not in London. At best, they will be able to achieve one or two wins.

Joshua: Even though Great Britian is ranked 43rd in the world, they did move up 13 spots, however they still won’t really do well in the Olympics. I say they won’t do well because the national British team is still young, only appearing twice in the Olympics and 3 times in the eurobasket. I think they will win 3 games at the most.

Will they be medal contenders?

Ashley: While there is always a possibility, Team GB will not be medal contenders. They just do not have enough talent, skill, and experience to do so.

Joshua: While I have high hopes for the team, it’s unfortunate to say that they won’t be medal contenders. They’re still a young team and lack the experience that teams such as the United States and Spain have. When Great Britain has more experience and appearances in the Olympics like other national teams, and start to obtain more key players, than they’ll end up moving up in the FIBA world ranking, but right now they don’t have many great scorers and talent on their team.

What will Great Britain need to do to ensure wins?

Ashley: To ensure wins, Team GB will have to take care of the ball and defend well. They cannot be careless and just allow their opponent to get easy buckets.

Joshua: To win, Team Great Britain has to control the ball better and defend more. In the exhibition game against the Americans, Mensa-Bonsu and Freeland only blocked once. That just won’t cut it.

What is Great Britain’s strength?

Ashley: Great Britain’s strength is their size. Many of their players are around 6′ 10″. They can take advantage of this when rebounding and playing in the paint.

Joshua: Great Britain’s strength is their height. Most of the players can use their height to rebound more, but they must use their height to their advantage and block more shots.

What is Great Britain’s weakness?

Ashley: Great Britain’s weakness is taking care of the ball. They can commit many turnovers, and if they do so, it well hurt them severely.

Joshua: Their weakness is ball control. In the exhibition game against team USA, Deng lost the ball 5 times, Mensa-Bonsu lost it 6 times, and Freeland, Reinking and Adegboye lost it 3 times each. Turnovers are going to really hurt this team so they must protect the ball to win. Now I know it’s unfair to compare Great Britain to the American team, but that exhibition game showed how vulnerable team Great Britain actually is.

Who will be Great Britain’s biggest challenge?

Ashley: Assuming they do not face the United States in the knockout rounds, Great Britain’s biggest challenge will be Spain. They are ranked second and have plenty of power in Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, and Serge Ibaka. Great Britain will have a lot of with on their hands.

Joshua: In Pool B, every country Great Britain has to play against is ranked top 15 by FIBA, but their biggest challenge in their category has to be Spain. Besides the fact that Spain has numerous professional NBA players, Spain is more experienced appearing in 11 Olympics. Spain overall has a lot more skill, talent and veteran experience than Britain and it will show when both teams compete.

Which player will be an x-factor?

Ashley: The non-key players will be an x-factor. Deng and Mensa-Bonsu will full up the stats sheet. But if they are the only ones doing so, they will have trouble with their production.

Joshua: The rest of the team/bench will be an x-factor. if the team doesn’t score and just relies on their star players, they’ll be in deep trouble. Basketball is a team sport, not a 3 man sport, so its a necessity that all players involved score multiple points. I’m sure head coach Chris Finch and the team realize this, so i’ll be interesting to see how the team gets everyone involved.

How will Luol Deng’s wrist affect Great Britain?

Ashley: With a lingering wrist injury, Deng could possibly struggle throughout the Olympics. Deng is the star of the team, and he plays an important role. If he struggles, the other members of Team GB will need to step up big time. They cannot let Deng’s struggles affect them negatively. Everyone else will be needed more than ever.

Joshua: Deng is the key player of his team. You could say he carries his team every game. Now if his wrist injury acts up during the Olympics, Great Britain can be in big trouble. Because of this, every member of the British team needs to come hard every game. They must know that Deng, their top scorer could go down any game.

Predict the result of Great Britain’s participation in men’s basketball.

Ashley: 1-4 in pool play

Joshua: 2-3 in pool play.

In this year’s Olympiad, Great Britain will be competing in pool B. The schedule is as followed:




Sun. July 29th


2:00 p.m. CT

 (8:00 p.m. Local)

Tue. July 31st


10:45 a.m. CT

(4:45 p.m. Local)

Thur. August 2nd


2:00 p.m. CT

(8:00 p.m. Local)

Sat. August 4th


2:00 p.m. CT

(8:00 p.m. Local)

Mon. August 6th


10:45 a.m. CT

(4:45 p.m. Local)

If Great Britain advances to the knockout rounds, further updates will be announced.