Tony Garbelotto has been appointed as head coach to Great Britain's senior men's basketball team ©British Basketball

Tony Garbelotto is to become head coach of the British Basketball  senior men's team.

The 48-year-old is the first British-born head coach of the British men's team in the modern era, having been previously assistant to Chris Finch in the build-up to London 2012. 

He will succeed Joe Prunty in time for the autumn's FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Estonia.

He led Mersey Tigers to all three domestic trophies in 2011, including the British Basketball League (BBL) title with an all-British roster.

Garbelotto will combine his duties for the national team with those of BBL team Glasgow Rocks, as well as for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast next April. 

"For me, it was the right time to come back to the United Kingdom for all types of personal reasons,"he said.

 He has been Asia for the last three years, including being head coach for the Vietnamese team, and in Germany prior to that "and there was this unique set of circumstances that came together".

"It's an interesting time for British Basketball as there seems to be a lot of things happening and there's an incredible group of young players coming through," he said.

Garbelotto paid tribute to Prunty.

"We're all extremely proud of the way this group has developed and I think Joe has done an incredible job of fusing those young players with the older players," he said.

"You can see the discipline that this team plays with and I think we can be thankful that we've worked with such a high-level coach who took this group forward, after coach Finch left the programme.

"We should be excited about our prospects going forward."

Gabe Olaseni, on left, one of the rising stars of British basketball, tussles for the ball during his team's EuroBasket match against Russia in Istanbul earlier this month ©Getty Images
Gabe Olaseni, on left, one of the rising stars of British basketball, tussles for the ball during his team's EuroBasket match against Russia in Istanbul earlier this month ©Getty Images

Britain ended their recent EuroBasket campaign without a win as they lost their final match in Istanbul 82-70 to Russia.

"Some players are very young, especially  those players involved in the junior teams this summer but more importantly, the core of this team are at the stage where they can only get better," Garbelotto said.

"I've been involved in the Great Britain programme since its inception and I don't believe that even before London 2012, we truly got the fusion of young and mature players at the right stage. 

"They are a really tight group and if we can add players to this group for the World Cup qualifiers, we can be excited about the possibilities where this team can take us."

British Basketball performance director Mark Clark said of the departing coach: "Joe has left the programme in a healthy state, with young players such as Gabe Olaseni having had a first taste of major tournament play and showing they can perform at this level.

"I've known Tony for some time and he is a very talented coach with a deep knowledge of the international game and I'm looking forward to working with him."

Glasgow Rocks owner Duncan Smilie said: "It is a great honour that the Glasgow Rocks head coach has been named as the new head coach of Great Britain. 

"We're more than comfortable Tony will be able to fulfill his duties in full at The Rocks as the reality is the GB role has a minimal impact on our BBL season.

"The appointment of Tony is just reward for his achievements at home and abroad over the years in the game he cares so much about.

"Great Britain will be all the better for his appointment and the Rocks will benefit greatly from it.”