Great Britain’s men’s basketball team return to Newcastle for the first time since February 2020 this week as they host Greece in the opening fixture of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers on Tursday 25 November.
The team’s last trip to the North East resulted in a hard fought win against Germany – who sat 18th in the world rankings – at the start of last year, which forced a four way tie for the Eurobasket continental championships.
That entertaining night saw Newcastle’s Vertu Motors Arena welcome a capacity crowd, and the Team GB camp are hoping for more of the same this year. Speaking to British Basketball’s website, head coach Marc Steutel said “Last time out — just before the pandemic — we played in front of a packed house and got the win against Germany that ultimately helped us to qualify for next year’s EuroBasket.
“The home support that night really spurred us on in the last 15 minutes and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get the backing of another sell-out North East crowd.”
Tickets remain available for the fixture on Thursday evening, with adult tickets starting from £15 and under 16s able to watch the best the country has to offer for just £10. Tickets are available to buy from the Newcastle Eagles online box office.
Greece’s roster is stacked full of experience with at least one NBA draft pick expected to be playing in the fixture thanks to Kostas Antetokounmpo, who has made appearances for the Dallas Mavericks and LA Lakers since 2019.
Great Britain’s team is predominantly full of domestic talent, with a familiar face expected to make the starting five in Ovie Soko. The small forward now plays in Japan for Shiga Lakestars, but has played for teams across Europe as well as being well known for his appearance in 2019’s series of Love Island.
Elsewhere in the squad, Teddy Okereafor is set to break a record for most consecutive international games played if he is selected for the game against Greece. He is currently tied at 49 games, and will break the record, which was set in 1976, with an appearance.
Tip off at the Vertu Motors Arena on Scotswood Road is at 6:30pm.