Friday, September 4, 2009

Mensah-Bonsu joins UK team

Great Britain have received a shot in the arm ahead of the EuroBasket following the late arrival of Pops Mensah-Bonsu from the NBA. Mensah-Bonsu, prevented from joining the national team this summer while he negotiated a contract with the Houston Rockets, also needed to be properly insured before showing up for national team duty. Once his insurance was in place, Mensah-Bonsu joined training on Wednesday.

It remains to be seen how his inability to play in any of the friendly games affects the player, and team chemistry. "We're really excited to finally have Pops with us," Britain coach Chris Finch said.

"Adding him is a boost; it keeps on strengthening the front line. The challenge now is to make sure we get him in as quickly as possible and hope he is in some sort of shape. If there is a strength for Great Britain, it is their depth at power forward and center. Andy Betts, Robert Archibald and Joel Freeland were already in the group and now Mensah-Bonsu should make the front court even stronger.

At his best, as he was during Britain's successful qualifying campaign for the EuroBasket, Mensah-Bonsu is a beast. The 2.06m power forward/center averaged 12.2 points and 10 rebounds per contest. He would have been a no-show in Poland were it not for Britain's ability to get him properly insured.

Ron Wuotila, head of basketball operations for British Basketball, said: "Thanks to the help from the Rockets and Pops we were able to put a policy in place in short order. This is a complicated process and was only possible with the help from many key people." At the EuroBasket in Warsaw, Poland, Britain will play in Group C against Serbia, Slovenia and world champions Spain.

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