|10 August 2011|
|The transition from junior to senior level seems to work well for Devon van Oostrum |
Great Britain won't have Ben Gordon again as they play at the EuroBasket but his absence will open the door for another to compete in the Final Round in Lithuania.
Youngster Devon van Oostrum looks to be a strong candidate to fill the void.
The 18-year-old, fresh off playing for the Brits at the U20 European Championship Division B, had 18 points and three assists as Great Britain defeated Nigeria 95-80 on Tuesday night.
The friendly victory was a second in a row with Britain have also beaten the Netherlands.
Van Oostrum, a player in the Caja Laboral youth ranks in Spain who averaged 13.1 points, five assists and 7.1 rebounds for the British under-20s this summer, took the latest performance in his stride.
"It's not all about top scoring," he said.
"I think I brought some energy off the bench, too, and it was great helping the team to the win."
Britain will be in Group A of the EuroBasket against Spain, Turkey, hosts Lithuania, Poland and a team that makes it through the Additional Qualifying Round.
Nigeria are no pushovers.
They have a squad of players who have designs on joining Britain when they host the Olympics next year in London.
To make it to next year's Games, Nigeria will have to win this summer's Afrobasket in Madagascar or clinch a spot in London via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
"It was a good win tonight," Van Oostrum said. "Nigeria were a better team than Holland.
As for the London-born, United States-raised Gordon, the most talked about player never to wear a British jersey in international basketball, there is still hope that he will be available for the Olympics.
British Basketball announced that Gordon took the decision not to play this summer because of "complications regarding the NBA lockout and proposed insurance coverage."
Chris Spice, Performance Director for British Basketball, said: "We are obviously very disappointed that Ben is not able to join us this year but we fully understand and respect his decision.
"This is a difficult and complex insurance issue caused primarily by the NBA lockout. We have done our best to provide a cover that is close to what we would have in a normal season but in the end things didn't work out from a financial or scope of cover perspective.
"We have built the reputation of our program to such a level that where the players are concerned, all the professional clubs know that their players are well provided for when they are with the British squad. Unfortunately for both Ben and ourselves we are unable to connect again this year.
"It will be doubly important that next year we have everything in place for Ben to join us on day one of the program as every day he is with us will be key to performing at our peak for London 2012."