Deng confident British basketball team will compete well in 2012
Monday, 16 May 2011
May 16 - Chicago Bulls superstar Luol Deng, the man set to lead Britain's basketball team at the London 2012 Olympics, has promised that they will not simply make up the numbers at the Games.
Britain's men's and women's basketball teams were given permission by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to take up Host Nation qualifying places at the Games after both teams failed to qualify automatically for the competition.
Britain's team is considered relatively weak compared to powerhouses of the game such as the United States, who won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Deng claimed that the side, coached by highly respected Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Chris Finch and who are set to have Deng's fellow NBA star Ben Gordon of the Detroit Pistons in their ranks for the 2012 Olympics, will not roll over.
"I don't know [if we'll make the podium]," Deng told BBC Sport.
"But I do know that every game we go into, we are going to try and win.
"I don't think we are going to the Olympics just to be in the Olympics, I don't think any of us have that in mind.
"We're going to try and compete with every team."
Deng, currently a vital member of the Bulls team that has reached the finals of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, does not think the team's lack of Olympic experience will stop them.
"We know it's our first Olympics and other teams have been together longer than us but we're going to compete," he said.
"It's not going to be easy for our opponents, they're not going to look at Team GB and just circle that game as a win."
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March 2011: British basketball teams given all-clear to compete at London 2012