SHEFFIELD SHARKS: Nate and Devon another step closer to London

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SHEFFIELD Sharks Nate Reinking and former Silverdale school pupil Devon Van Oostrum have been named in Great Britain’s preliminary squad for the Olympic Games in London.

The two players are at opposite ends of their careers with 38-year-old Reinking seeing the Games as a swansong, while 19-year-old Van Oostrum, who plays for Spanish club Tarragona, is classed as one of the rising stars of the British game.

NBA players, Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons) and Byron Mullens (Charlotte Bobcats) are also included in the squad after confirming their availability and commitment to the team this summer.

The British squad, who will take on the might of the United States in an Olympic warm up match in Manchester on July 19, are coached by former Sheffield boss Chris Finch.

Finch, who is now and assistant coach at NBA club Houston Rockets said: “The Great Britain basketball programme has come a long way since 2006 and the blend we have now of experienced talent with the younger guys is fantastic to see.

“We have the potential for a world class team who will surprise a few people this summer. The commitment from all our players to the programme once again is great and it’s also good to see our strength and depth continuing to increase year on year.”

The preliminary squad of 21 players will be cut down to 16 at the beginning of May with two additional places available for Futures team players.

The final roster of 12 players heading to the Olympic Games this summer will then be announced early in July when the team returns to the UK from preparation camp in the USA.

The men’s and women’s teams are also set for Olympic Games warm-up matches in Sheffield. The men will play Portugal at the Arena on July 14 and again at Ponds Forge a day later. The women play Angola on July 13 at Ponds Forge, Australia at the Arena on July 14 and France on July 15 at Ponds Forge.

Sharks Mike Tuck has been named to the BBL team of the week after his 24 points and nine rebounds against Durham last Friday.