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Tottenham's Pops Mensah-Bonsu selected to play for Team GB at London 2012 Olympics
11:49am Thursday 5th July 2012 in Local Sport
Pops Mensah-Bonsu spoke of his pride after his place in the Team GB basketball squad for London 2012 was confirmed today.
The 28-year-old was one of 12 players selected to the squad, including Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng, as Britain will be represented in the event for the first time since the 1948 Olympics.
Mensah-Bonsu currently plays for Besiktas in Turkey but he too has experience of the NBA having featured for the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Hornets.
And the Tottenham-born star can’t wait to get the Olympic campaign underway.
He explained: “The experience at the holding camp in Loughborough has made us all realise that the Olympics are just around the corner.
“I am proud to be a member of this team and can’t wait to represent my country on the largest stage.”
The squad don’t know who their opening opponents will be on Sunday, July 29, as the qualifying campaign is not yet complete but they will certainly come up against Brazil, Spain, Australia and China.
The 12 teams competing will be split into two pools of four with the top four nations from each group advancing to the knock-out stages.
Games will initially be played at the Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park but the competition will relocate to the North Greenwich Arena from the quarter final stages.
Progress has been evident on the court in recent years as the British team qualified for EuroBasket for the first time in 2009 and picked up their first wins in the tournament last year against Poland and Portugal.
The test event last year saw Team GB beat China but suffer narrow defeats against Croatia, Serbia and Australia.
Head Coach Chris Finch said: “Cutting down to a final 12 is always difficult. We had a really productive camp in Houston and to finally announce the Olympic team here in Loughborough is fantastic.
“The next four weeks provide us with outstanding competition leading up to the Olympics, which is just what is required before doing battle within our group come Games time.”
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt added: “The progress that the men’s basketball squad has made since London was awarded the Olympics in 2005 is quite remarkable.
“British Basketball has worked hard to prepare a squad that is capable of producing credible and competitive performances for Team GB against the very best nations in the world at the Olympic Games.”