Ben Gunn to coach Scotland women basketball

Becca Allison. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Becca Allison. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Veteran Edinburgh Kool Kats coach Graham “Ben” Gunn is back in charge of the Scottish women’s basketball team for the coming international season and will steer the side in the European C Division Championships next year, probably in Austria.

Gunn, who believes this will be the fourth time he has been in charge of the national senior side, has yet to appoint his full support staff, but he has been given a strong endorsement from the new Head of Performance Basketball at BasketballScotland, Barry Lang.

He said: “Ben comes with a great deal of experience and success at domestic and international level.

“We’ve an exciting programme planned for our senior players this season culminating in the Small Countries tournament in the summer.”

“We’ve a talented group of female players at home and overseas and I’m confident that Ben will be able take our high performance programme to a new level.”

Having missed out in 2006 when Malta were preferred to Scotland in the countries invited to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, Gunn will be particularly anxious to ensure that history does not repeat itself and Scotland are invited to the 2018 Games in the Australian Gold Coast when basketball returns as one of the sports, having been omitted in Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.

One player Gunn will be particularly keen to speak to regarding her future plans is GB Olympic player Rose Anderson, who is currently back in Edinburgh and playing for Kool Kats while she considers a career move. A fit Anderson would clearly be a big boost to the Scotland side but the 25-year-old Portobello High FP could only play for Scotland if she declined to join the Great Britain squad for next year’s European qualifying ties.

Kats will have their first experience of playing at the Emirates Arena when they travel to play Glasgow University women there on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, tip-off 2pm.

Another ex Kool Kat in action this weekend is Becca Allison, who opens her season at Old Dominion University in Virginia with two games, one tomorrow against Delaware State and one on Monday against Virginia Tech.

Having been overlooked by the GB coaches for last summer’s Eurobasket in France, Allison had ankle surgery and is fully fit. She scored nine points, took four rebounds and gave three assists in an exhibition game last Sunday.

She could feature in Gunn’s team if snubbed by GB.

Pick of the Scottish men’s basketball games this weekend should be at the Crags tomorrow (2.20pm) where Boroughmuir Blaze host Glasgow University in the league.

Blaze will be looking to regain their momentum after last week’s heavy defeat by Falkirk Fury while the students, beaten both by Edinburgh Kings and Edinburgh University in the last two weeks, will also want to reassert themselves.

Blaze are joint second with St Mirren while Glasgow are down in seventh.

Kings meanwhile travel to Belmont Academy, Ayr to play Troon Tornadoes tomorrow (4.10pm).

Tonight, Stirling Knights are at home to St Mirren at the Peak (8pm).

Kings juniors are also away to Troon tomorrow (2.15pm) while unbeaten Blaze who beat Kings 71-65 in an enthralling game at the Crags last Tuesday night, will host Perth Phoenix tomorrow (4.20pm).