Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 11:29 am  |  56 responses

GB Hoops a Force to be Reckoned With?

No doubt about it.

by Sam Neter / @Hoopsfix

Everyone is well aware that here across the pond we’re a little behind when it comes to basketball. Kids still have to pay to get access to a gym, the coaching and infrastructure at a grass roots level needs a lot of work and the professional league has trouble attracting crowds that break into four figures.

But right now there is one bright spot. Team GB is currently making waves on the international scene; at the halfway point through their Eurobasket qualifying caLuol Dengmpaign, they are second in their group at 5-1.

And these games matter. FIBA President Bob Elphinston has said for Team GB to get their place at London 2012, they need to qualify for Eurobasket 2011 (basketball is the only sport in the Olympics the host nation doesn’t get an automatic spot).

The team’s campaign hasn’t been short of drama. Since the naming of the initial squad, the team has been rocked by a number of withdrawals. First Detroit Piston Ben Gordon took longer than expected to recover from surgery, Joel Freeland (2006 Portland Trail Blazers draft pick) followed suit with a lower back injury, and then Nick George, Robert Archibald, Jarrett Hart and Mike Lenzly all withdrew for various reasons. The team was left with a decimated roster.

That meant an influx of young talent and an almost completely new look team with only six returning players from the Eurobasket 2009 side. Led by the infallible Luol Deng, who is averaging 21 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists to go along with 1.7 steals per game, the team is performing beyond anyone’s expectations. Deng has come up clutch on a number of occasions, with none bigger than this three with 6.1 seconds remaining to send the game against Macedonia to OT. Right now he is arguably the best player in the tournament.

Former Toronto Raptors favoriPops Mensah Bonsute Pops Mensah-Bonsu is doing his thing, dunking everything, while averaging a tournament-leading 12.8 rebounds to go along with 17.3 points per outing. The emergence of rising European star Dan Clark has been a huge positive, including a 23-point performance against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which saw him start the game 8-8 from the floor.

And then there’s the crowd. Known for quietly clapping as opposed to the madness you’d see in many European crowds, a fan-led campaign known as “Back British Basketball” is changing all of that, leading to complements from opposing team’s players and sound recordings that have broken 120 decibels.

A film crew has been following them for a couple of months as they have been spreading the word and released the final 15-minute edit last week which can be seen below.

Is the tide slowly turning for GB hoops? You heard it here at SLAMonline first.

Sam Neter played ball until he realized he was better off the court than on it. He now runs British basketball website Hoopsfix.com (@Hoopsfix) and is one of the fans behind the Back British Basketball campaign (@backbritishball).

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Thanks Sam. By the way, people, watch the film at the end of the piece. You’ll be glad you did!

  • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam

    Awesome Ryne, thanks giving UK hoops the chance to be under the SLAM spotlight!

  • Mark

    LOL at the oyster card = Traveling! We need more coverage of the games in the UK. Great piece sam

  • http://www.team-colours.co.uk frazer

    Really started to become interested by the British basketball scene recently, seems like a real transition time and hopefully will get more people interested nationwide!

  • http://www.gibfootballshow.co.uk Andrew

    Well Done Sam, great job with all the video work and with the website you deserve the recognition you will get from you piece here.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Loaf

    looooooooooool loved it! that was a runny egg!

    as an english person and strong basketball fan i love what your doing sam! keep it up!


    and slicky is a JOKER LOL

  • Bexter

    Let’s go GB, let’s go!

  • http://www.thomasangus.com thomasangus_com

    we have a purpose built court?

    YES SAM, bring it on thursday.

  • J.G

    Great article, great video and great campaign Sam….not only is it greatly needed but something like this is long overdue. It’s a beautful sport that we can flourish at if everyone gets involved. Well done man

    P.s love the MM stuff you did too

  • http://Www.birmingham-bullets.com Des Williams

    Well done on another excellent piece Sam. Keep up the fantastic work and bring the game out of the doldrums on the UK.

    Des Williams

  • Dr K

    Great article and great work Sam. Fully backing the campaign!!
    Lets get some high profile coverage people.
    ESPN, Sky Sports, BBC where you at?
    Singers, sports stars, actors where you at?

  • Overtime

    More UK love from Slam! A good day, glad people are noticing this, even if it is ridicolous we dont get an automatic berth, no-one will say we didnt earn it if we keep going this way

  • Jonny b

    Quality piece mate. The video at the end cracked me
    right up as well…..people in my hostel room wernt to impressed though with my “lol” at the vid. Keep doing what ur doing bruv – impressed!

  • http://www.amaechibasketballcentre.com Matt R

    Great job Sam still lovin’ your work! I will be in the crowd Thursday for both games wearing my BACK BRITISH BASKETBALL T-SHIRT and making some noise for team GB! Let’s go GB Let’s go. Deng Deng Deng Deng Deng Deng Deng!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Listen to British people speak is so entertaining.

  • mary

    Well done Sam !!! Great that after all your efforts for bball and GB bball in particular you have been recognised internationally. BRAVO !!!

  • Nevis

    Great job Sam, keep doing what you doing……

  • Daniela

    Great article Sam! Here’s hoping more people catch on to how much better basketball is than footie!

  • Myles

    GB Stand up!!!

    Good Job Sam

  • Brown14

    Great video, I wish I could have made it to some of the games but work got in the way. Keep it up Sam!

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    @ Allenp £349: Yeah! An article without hate in the comments section, Waoh!

  • Overtime

    @ AllenP, we say the same thing about americans

  • http://ww.hoopsfix.com Seb

    Good job Sam.
    Real nice read, glad to see your efforts are finally starting to get noticed.

  • http://www.rhulbasketball.co.uk J

    Great work on yet more exposure for GB basketball Sam!

  • http://www.twitter.com/jossmart Jos Smart

    Great article.

    Props to Slam for providing a platform.

    Bigger props to Sam Neter (Hoopsfix & Back British Ball), I don’t think many people know the amount of effort this man is putting into promoting British hoops.

    Fix up FIBA!

  • Jos

    Nice job. Pops killed it in that video

  • Will

    Great piece Sam.

    I think the energy and effort you’re putting in will pay dividend in the long run!

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    I read all these comments in a English accent.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Really? That’s funny because I am completely serious. It trips me out every time I listen to a black British dude talking. I always wanna be like “N*gga, stop playing and talk normal.” The accents make everything interesting, even when it’s banal.

  • bigbadshango

    Great Article Sam and excellent video.
    Keep up the good work and back british ball

  • Steve Baxter

    Great article Sam.

    British basketball is improving at a rapid rate.

    At last years eurobasket we came very close to upsetting Spain without Deng (Spain were at full strength).

    Lots of good players making contributions at D1 schools in the states and on major european teams.

    Keep up the good work and hope to see more articles on GB on Slam in the future

  • Jac St John

    Sam is the man. His commitment to British basketball deserves further recognition. Thousands of people across the country rely on him for news and updates everyday. Did someone say ‘Slam International Ambassador’?

  • Kester

    You boys at Back British Basketball are doing a great job. Keep it up. Let’s go GB!

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    Pops Mensah, Ben Gordon, Loul Deng, the Richards kid…and the dude who crossed Devin Harris….thats a squad at least lol

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Has Ben Gordon ever even played for GB? I know he’s eligible, but seems to out for various reasons each time.

  • Simon

    Great article Sam. Hopefully team GB can wrap it up on Thursday.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Yeah I love hearing the British speak. They can make something normal seem hilarious. It takes a little bit longer to adjust when they are black dudes for me too. Lets hope Deng has a breakout year with Chicago so more people “Back British Basketball”.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Love the video. Imagine if Ben Gordon was playing for you guys, too…

  • AMac

    Massive props to Sam Neter and Silky Slimm, the tag-team that’s saving British Basketball.

  • Overtime

    @ AllenP, yeah im totall serious too no worries.

    Great to see the amount of love for GB here on Slam

  • Casper

    Keep shining that light Sam

  • T-Money

    Deng, Azubuike, Pops, Gordon, Freeland, Ryan Richards… they could be decent.

  • T-Money

    2 things I’ve noticed in England: 1- Rows are still very popular whereas it’s kinda played out over here unless you’re AI. 2- Girls are HUGE.

  • GBU

    GB hoops is distgustingly underlooked by the media. BBB in effect!!

  • Beza

    This is an excellent documentary really entertaining! More please!

  • http://www.medwayparkcrusaders.co.uk Medway Park Crusaders

    Great work once again Sam!

  • Realosophy

    Team GB Theme Song (West Way Beats): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjepm8Thxac

  • Realosophy



    nice article man. british basketball r doin big things this summer

  • Lisa Jayne Scruton

    Well done Sam – I am lovin ur work :)

  • Mizzle and Bizzle

    Seriously, this documentary is breaking new ground. It’s so engaging and places UK basketball as part of popular culture. It just makes you want to live Basketball. It’s a lifestyle!

    Big up Hoopsfix

  • http://eastbourneshiatsu.co.uk Great Bear

    Sam you are almost singlehandedly raising the Profile of British Basketball nationwide and probably globally…..keep up the great work..you are an inspiration…!

  • JPurcell

    Nice Article and Doc Sam, Your doing a lot for UK Hoops. Keep up the good work!

  • Pingback: BBB Film Makes SLAM Online!

  • Jordan Parrish

    Sam Neter; the face and voice of the development and exposure of basketball in Britain. One of the hardest working people in the Game, anything done by Sam and HOOPSFIX.Com is something to look out for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rwalcott Ross

    YESYES!!! British BBall gettin its props. ’bout time 2!!! jks…Big up SLAM and british Bball. thrs also british streetball too!! SLAM should try to add britain into their international article. PEACE!!!