BAsketball: Meadowbank matches are part of hectic GB schedule

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The Standard Life Great Britain men’s and women’s basketball teams have announced an incredible series of warm-up games as they seek to prepare for their once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing in front of home crowds at the London 2012 Olympics beginning on July 28.

If they are not totally exhausted both by playing and travelling then these two teams will be the best prepared in the history of British Olympic basketball, a history which could be curtailed if the current agreement between FIBA, the international governing body, and Great Britain Basketball, the body representing the Home Nations, is not extended into future Olympiads.

FIBA have put a deadline of June 30 on negotiations to reach a settlement which may give the Scottish, English and Welsh Associations some tough choices in the not-too-distant future.

But in the meantime a few favoured Scots such as Portobello’s Rose Anderson and Falkirk’s Mairi Buchan on the women’s side, and Dunfermline’s Robert Archibald and Stirling’s Kieron Achara on the men’s, may get to live their Olympic dream.

Coach Tom Maher and his GB women, who are lined up to play World No. 11 Canada at Meadowbank on June 9 and 10, will start their marathon prep with games against Ukraine, Germany and Belgium, in Belgium, on June 1, 2 and 3 and, after the Edinburgh games, move on to Turkey for further games from June 15-17.

The Czech Republic provide tougher opposition in Prague on June 19 and 20 before their most tiring assignment of all, a four-cornered tournament against Angola, Russia and China, in China.

GB women are back in Sheffield from July 13-15 for games against Angola, Olympic silver medallists Australia, and France.

Then there is the highlight of the entire pre-Games or any season, a test match against the Olympic champions and World champions USA in Manchester on July 18, which is followed by a men’s test match against the NBA superstar-dominated USA at the same venue the following day.

GB men start later with a training camp in Houston from June 11-30 and games against Lithuania and Russia, then play France and Spain both away before returning to Sheffield to play Portugal twice then move to Belgium to play Tunisia and Belgium on July 21 and 22.