In a summer of ups and downs for aspiring Olympians today marked another day of disappointment. Just when team GB was hoping to finalize their Olympic squad Byron Mullens of the Charlotte Bobcats pulled out from the Games.
The center was due to meet up with the rest of the squad in Houston, Texas, but the 7 footer, who had been given a UK passport on account of his mother being born in England, was forced to withdraw with a chronic toe injury.
Chris Finch, the team’s head coach and assistant with the Houston Rockets, said “It is disappointing but we have a very strong squad in camp with us in Houston at the moment. Everyone here is focussed on the task at hand and we now turn our attention to our first warm-up games of the summer this week.”
Losing Mullens will be an undoubted blow, but GB have options under their own net and with the final 12 due to be named early next month many are declaring this GB’s strongest ever outfit. Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls is their star –the coaches having many a sleepless night over the small forward’s fitness before he declared he would see out the Games –and he will be the face of basketball throughout GB’s campaign, but there is competition for places.
Gordon had declared himself available for team GB a few years ago, but he is yet to wear the Union Jack. Now he is procrastinating. Whilst the team are in Houston Gordon remains in Detroit for unknown reasons. At this rate he may miss out on the Games altogether.
Before squads are announced there is the small matter of a match in Houston against Nigeria on Friday night, followed by several matches against Lithuania and Russia over the next few weeks. After the first few run outs it will be fairly clear who Finch sees as his squad.